Michigan Pro-Life Group Takes Veto Override to the People

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 12, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Michigan Pro-Life Group Takes Veto Override to the People

by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
November 12, 2003

Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — As state Senate Republicans are unsure whether they have the votes necessary to override Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s veto of the Legal Birth Definition Act, Right to Life of Michigan is ready to take the issue directly to Michigan residents.

With the defeat of Sen. Virg Bernero in Lansing’s mayoral race, 26 votes are still needed to get a two-thirds majority in the Senate. When the bill originally passed, it received only 25 votes. The State House passed the bill 74-28, so it is more likely they have the 74 votes they need to pass the override.

Bill Nowling, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema (R-Wyoming), said Republicans won’t attempt an override unless they are sure they have the votes to do it.

Right to Life of Michigan has announced that they are initiating a petition that would bring the bill back to the House and Senate, but would only require a majority vote, and not two-thirds. If it then passes both houses, it becomes law without the Governor’s approval.

The bill that pro-abortion Gov. Granholm vetoed last month would define the moment a person is born as when any part of an unborn child is expelled from a woman’s body. While not banning a specific abortion procedure, it would effectively prohibit partial-birth abortion. 

"We feel that this piece of legislation is important as a firewall,” said Ed Rivet of Right to Life of Michigan. "We have to draw a line somewhere.”

Gov. Granholm said she vetoed the bill because she believed it did not provide adequate protection for the health of the mother.

“Granholm’s veto message parroted familiar rhetoric from extreme pro-abortion groups that S.B. 395 would ban abortions without providing adequate protections for the life and health of the mother,” Right to Life of Michigan explains. “The governor ignored clear language in the bill stating that a physician could address a legitimate physical threat to the mother.”

"This veto is an insult to the overwhelming majority of Michigan citizens who find partial birth abortion repulsive and indefensible," Right to Life of Michigan’s President Barbara Listing said. "Governor Granholm should have stood with and for the people in expressing a minimum sense of decency. No doubt she is beholden to the abortion supporters who gave her hundreds of thousands of dollars in last year’s campaign."

RTLM needs to collect 254,000 signatures within 180 days, which amounts to 8 percent of the vote in the last gubernatorial election.

The state of Michigan has failed twice prior, in 1996 and 1999, to declare partial-birth abortion bans constitutional. The language of SB 395 was designed to pass the judicial tests.

While President Bush recently signed a Partial-Birth Abortion Ban into law, the federal version differs from Michigan’s in that it expressly bans the partial-birth abortion procedure. It is currently being blocked until its constitutionality can be determined.

In 1990 RTLM successfully brought a parental consent bill back to the legislature after Gov. James Blanchard vetoed it.

Related web sites:
Override Petition – https://www.rtl.org/html/FrontPageMatter/override

Legal Birth Definition Act – https://www.michiganlegislature.org/documents/2003-2004/billenrolled/senate/pdf/2003-SNB-0395.pdf