News Release: Michigan Catholic Conference Praises State House Vote on House Bill 4603—Legal Birth Definition Act

May 8, 2003

LANSING—The Michigan House of Representatives voted 74–29 today in favor of House Bill 4603, the Legal Birth Definition Act. This is the second time in two weeks a bill of this nature has passed either the Michigan House or Senate with large bi-partisan majorities. Senate Bill 395 passed the Michigan Senate on May 1, 2003 on a vote of 24–12.

“I am thankful to the House for their historic vote today and to the Senate for their vote last week on Senate Bill 395,” said MCC President and CEO Sister Monica Kostielney. “The sponsors of these bills, Representative Robertson and Senator McManus; and the legislative leadership, Speaker Johnson and Majority Leader Sikkema are to be commended. The issue inherent in these bills is the definition of birth and the protection of human life.”

House Bill 4603 and Senate Bill 395 create a new act to define a perinate as a legally born person. A perinate is defined in the bills as a live human being during that part of the birth process beginning when any anatomical part of the human being passes beyond the mother’s vaginal opening and until the point of complete expulsion or removal of the human being from the mother’s body.

“These bills address the very real need to protect children after they have been partially born,” stated Sister Monica. “They are about defining birth and what the obligation of the state is once a child has been born. Surely, no reasonable person could disagree, that the state has a compelling interest in protecting the life of a born person,” she concluded.

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

-- 30 --