And we wonder why Michigan residents hold their state Legislature in such low regard.
Late Tuesday night, the Democratic-led House passed Senate Bill 776, a
bill banning certain abortion procedures. The bill’s fate had occupied
legislators’ time and attention for days, as the right-to-life lobby
threatened to withdraw its endorsements from waffling legislators and
its elected allies threatened to stop all House business until the bill
came to a vote.
Pro-life Michigan residents might be inclined to breathe a sigh of relief. But
the bill is an exact replica of a federal bill the U.S. Supreme Court
has upheld. A brief lesson in federalism: federal law covers all
residents of the United States, regardless of whether a state has a
similar law on its books. In other words, the legislators in a state
with one of the worst economies in the nation — with crumbling roads,
failing schools, threatened wetlands and a foreclosure crisis that
seems to worsen daily — spent days debating whether to pass a law that
That’s because House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township, has been
so cowed by the failed recall attempt against him that he buckled when
threatened with losing Michigan Right to Life’s endorsement. The bill,
whose deliberately vague language could apply to abortion procedures
used as early as the beginning of the second trimester, makes no
exception for protecting a woman’s health. As passed by our House, it
includes no support for contraception. The entire purpose of the vote
was to force state legislators to take a public stand in an election
year on controversial abortion procedures. Thirty-two legislators were
brave enough to stand their ground and not cave into manipulative
In 2004, Democrats picked up five House seats against the odds. Two
years later, for the first time since 1994, the party took back the
House from Republicans, who had lost the public’s favor because they
were so beholden to special interests.
Sadly, that hard-won majority has been reduced to this — a Democratic
leader so beholden to a narrow special interest that he’s willing to
symbolically sell half this state’s population down the river to
protect his own hide. Beyond tossing an occasional endorsement to a
Democrat (and nearly always to his or her Republican opponent), the
right-to-life lobby has done nothing to help the party’s candidates.
Meanwhile, the pro-choice crowd has gone to the mats for the Democrats
in election after election, coughing up money, volunteers and time. And
the majority they helped build just told them to shove it.