by Steven Ertelt
July 4, 2006
Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — A Michigan pro-life group gathering signatures for a pro-life measure on abortion on the November ballot is behind where they need to be to qualify. The group is spending Independence Day collecting more signatures to get the number needed for Monday, when they must be turned in to the Secretary of State.
Michigan Citizens for Life is hoping to qualify a measure that would legally define a human being as beginning at the moment of conception. The group is hoping to use the ballot initiative as a method of challenging the Roe v. Wade decision that toppled pro-life laws across the country in 1973.
The pro-life organization must submit 317,757 valid signatures of state voters by July 10 and Cal Zastrow, a spokesman for the group, said they had no yet reached the minimum number of signatures.
Normally groups attempting to qualify a referendum for a state ballot try to turn in many more signatures than are required knowing some of the signatures will be duplicates or declared invalid. But Zastrow’s group isn’t giving up.
"It’s high drama for us here," Zastrow told the Associated Press. "We’re still behind, but we’re not quitting."
Zastrow didn’t say how many signatures Michigan Citizens for Life has collected, but said he thinks they will be able to turn in enough on Monday to qualify. All signatures must be turned in to the organization for it to process them on Friday.
The American Civil Liberties Union has already said it would file suit to block the MCL proposal if voters approve it in November.
In April, the directors of the Michigan Republican Party voted unanimously in favor of backing a statewide petition drive. The state Democratic party has criticized the pro-life proposal.
However, the state’s pro-life organization, Right to Life of Michigan is concentrating it’s limited resources on other key battles.
Right to Life of Michigan says its focused on the November elections, where pro-life advocates hope to unseat two top pro-abortion lawmakers — Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Sen. Debbie Stabenow.
The group also told AP the petition is not needed — saying the state already has a law on the books that would prohibit abortions when Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Abortions have been on the decline in Michigan over the years and were down to 25,209 in 2005 thanks in part to several pro-life bills that the state legislature approved and comprehensive television campaigns referring women to pregnancy centers located throughout the state.
Abortions have declined in Michigan by 49 percent since a high in 1987 of 49,098.