The Corner

A Pro-life Win in Michigan

Pro-life activists in Michigan received a nice victory this month when Gov. Rick Snyder signed a ban on partial-birth abortion into law. Banning partial-birth abortions has been a long-term goal of pro-lifers in Michigan. The state legislature passed partial-birth abortion bans in 2003 and 2008, but both were vetoed by Governor Granholm. In 2004, a citizen initiative banning partial-birth abortions received majority support, but was later struck down by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Still, passing this ban in 2004 was an accomplishment. Even though partial-birth abortion bans perform well in surveys, ballot initiatives elsewhere have met with little success. In the late 1990s, separate statewide initiative campaigns to ban partial-birth abortion in California and Washington State both failed.

Unsurprisingly, this successful effort to ban-partial birth abortions has been met with criticism. A few weeks ago, a commentary on NPR scolded Governor Snyder and the Michigan legislature for pursuing this issue at a time when the local economy is performing poorly. However, even with a federal ban on partial-birth abortion in effect, pursuing state bans is a wise strategy for pro-lifers. In general, local law enforcement tends to be more effective than federal law enforcement. Furthermore, during pro-choice presidential administrations, the Justice Department will probably make enforcing federal pro-life laws a low priority.

Raising the salience of the permissiveness of abortion policy in the United States is a wise strategy for pro-lifers. The effort to ban partial-birth abortion at the federal level clearly shifted public opinion in a pro-life direction during the 1990s. Other incremental laws at both the state and federal level still have that potential today. Michigan Right to Life and the rest of the pro-life community in Michigan deserve credit for their perseverance.

— Michael J. New is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan Dearborn and a Fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, NJ.

Michael J. New — Michael J. New is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan–Dearborn and an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Washington, D.C. He received a ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More