Michigan Pro-Life Groups Join Forces to Promote Petition
by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
January 12, 2004
Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — Right to Life of Michigan has again received the support of the Catholic Church in their attempt to use a citizen’s initiative to override Governor Jennifer Granholm’s veto of the Legal Birth Definition Act, which would have outlawed partial-birth abortion in the state and avoided judicial roadblocks.
Cardinal Adam Maida has asked the Archdiocese of Detroit’s 1.5 million Catholics to sign the initiative that, if successful, would allow a simple majority vote in the legislature to make the pro-life measure law – without giving the Governor another chance to veto it.
"Please … help preserve the greatest treasure God has given us, the gift of life itself," Maida said in a letter to be read during Masses in the Detroit area and in churches throughout the state.
The process of collecting the 300,000 signatures of registered voters will commence at a kick-off press conference on January 15 at the Capitol Rotunda in the State Capitol Building in Lansing. Volunteers will have 180 days to collect the signatures, which amounts to approximately 8 percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.
“The pro-life leadership of Detroit Cardinal Adam Maida is an encouragement for all in Michigan who work to bring sanctity to human life,” Pam Sherstad, Director of Public Information for Right to Life of Michigan, told LifeNews.com. “As we stand together, we will outlaw partial birth abortion in Michigan.”
Catholic leaders in Michigan were also active in two previous pro-life initiatives in 1996 and 1999. Both measures passed but were struck down by the court system. The language of SB 395 was designed to pass the judicial tests by defining a legal moment of birth — when any part of the child is exits the mother’s womb.
Other partners in the override petition effort include Baptists for Life, Lutherans for Life, and the Michigan Family Forum.
Opponents of the measure have already promised to challenge the Legal Birth Definition Act in court, should it become law.
“The Michigan law that has already been vetoed contains no health exception,” said Wendy Wagenheim of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. “A woman’s health is paramount.”
It was this sentiment that Gov. Granholm reiterated when she vetoed the bill in 2003.
"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."
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.
Related web sites:
Right to Life of Michigan – https://www.rtl.org