Michigan House Fails to Override Granholm’s Parental Consent Veto
by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
February 25, 2004
Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — The Michigan state House failed to override Governor Jennifer Granholm’s veto of a pro-life bill that would have strengthened the parental consent law. However, a later vote is still being considered.
The 70-36 vote was just 3 shy of the two-thirds majority needed to override the governor’s veto. House Speaker Rick Johnson (R-LeRoy) said he will have another vote on the bill, but no specific date is set.
Rep. Bill O’Neil (D-Allen Park) urged fellow Democrats not to be swayed by the fact that the Governor is from their party and to vote for the override. Thirty-six Democrats voted against the override, while seven joined the Republicans in supporting the legislation to help parents and teens.
"Achieving an override is very difficult, especially as we ask pro-life legislators from the governor’s party to override her veto," Ed Rivet, Legislative Director of Right to Life of Michigan, told LifeNews.com.
Pro-life groups say the bill is needed to stop the judical bypass in the law from being abused.
"According to the State Court Administrative Office, up to 800 bypasses are applied for each year and approximately 90% of those judicial bypass waivers are granted. In many instances, the judicial bypass system has become a rubber-stamp process," Kristen Hemker of Right to Life of Michigan told LifeNews.com.
HB 4478 would set guidelines for granting a judicial waiver to allow a minor to seek an abortion without notifying her parents by including the level of her maturity, circumstances of her pregnancy, and how many abortions she has had previously. A judge would also be prohibited from granting a waiver to a minor who has already been denied one by another judge, eliminating "judge shopping" that pro-life leaders say has been taking place.
The judicial bypass is a Supreme Court-mandated aspect of the law, which has helped reduce teen abortions in Michigan by 55 percent so far, even with the problems.
One legislator who voted against the override defended her vote.
"It’s a different vote overriding a governor’s veto. It’s not the same vote as voting on a bill," claimed Rep. Lisa Wojno (D-Warren) who voted for the original passage of the bill but against the override. "We have separate branches of power and yes, obviously one of our powers is to override the governor’s veto, but I don’t think that every time a veto is handed down you can just run and override the veto. It erodes the executive branch’s power, and we need to work together."
Wojno said she would work on a bill to prevent judge shopping, as Granholm told legislators in her veto that she would sign legislation dealing solely with that issue. But pro-life groups say the bill in its current form is fine.
Granholm told legislators in her veto message that she believed HB 4478. would shield child abusers, including the worst kind of sexual predator — a parent or guardian who rapes his own child — behind legal presumptions."
Pro-life leaders criticized the veto message, pointing out that while the House committee considered the override, there was no defense presented by pro-abortion groups attending the hearing.
"The governor went way over the line in claiming this bill protects sexual predators, Ed Rivet, Legislative Director of Right to Life of Michigan, told LifeNews.com. "Even the pro-abortion groups couldn’t come up with a defense for that accusation. We will stand to defend the integrity of this legislation, those who voted for it, and we who supported its passage."
"According to statistics from the Michigan Department of Community Health, the number of abortions performed on minors has been cut by over 55% and the number of teenagers giving birth has decreased by over 49% since passage of Michigan’s parental consent law in 1990," Hemker said.
The state Department of Community Health said there were 1,744 abortions among girls between ages 15 and 17 in 2001.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm – https://www.michigan.gov/gov
Right to Life of Michigan – https://www.rtl.org
Michigan Catholic Conference – https://www.micatholicconference.org
Michigan Legislature – https://www.michiganlegislature.org