by Steven Ertelt
July 10, 2006
Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — Michigan voters will not have the opportunity this November to vote on a pro-life ballot measure that would have declared the beginning of human life at the moment of conception. The measure was designed to challenge the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that allowed virtually unlimited abortions.
Michigan Citizens for Life had until today to obtain 317,000 signatures from state residents to qualify the ballot proposal for November.
Cal Zastrow, the director of the campaign, said last week the group was short and that a last-minute push was necessary to get the 400,000 signatures needed to be able to overcome the small percentage of signatures that are always declared invalid.
Zastrow said he waited for today’s mail hoping that large stacks of signatures would arrive from volunteers around the state. The amount he received was less than expected and not enough to head to the secretary of state’s office to file the petitions.
“We needed a pickup load to come in today and only got basketfuls,” Zastrow told the Detroit Free Press.
He indicated that the group failed to meet the minimum threshold, yet alone get enough to make sure the ballot measure qualified.
Zastrow told the newspaper that the group will redouble its efforts and organize another campaign to get the proposal on the ballot in the future.
He also told the Associated Press that the group may rely on the state legislature to get the measure to the voters. If two-thirds of the state House and Senate approved it, the proposal would be on the next statewide ballot.
“We’re talking about that and working on that now,” Mr. Zastrow said. “We’re talking about our plans from here on out. I am encouraged.”
Had the measure qualified and Michigan voters approved it, the pro-abortion American Civil Liberties Union had already said it would file suit to block the MCL proposal if voters approve it in November.
Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference had concerns about MCL’s efforts and said the proposal was ill-timed. They indicated the Supreme Court, at best, has a 5-4 majority in favor of abortion and worried that the ballot battle would take away from this year’s election efforts.
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.
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.