Michigan Anti-Abortion Bill Faces Veto, Remains In-Waiting

A controversial bill that criminalizes the performance of certain abortion procedures and that faces a veto by Gov. Jennifer Granholm remains in the Michigan House one week after its passage.

Supporters of Senate Bill 776, which passed the House on May 27,
suspect the House is deliberately delaying sending it to Granholm. But
a spokesman for the House speaker dismissed the charge.

"The fact that the bill remains in possession of the House tells you
that games are being played," said Michigan Right to Life Legislative
Director Ed Rivet.

But Greg Bird, spokesman for House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township, said the bill is under review by House clerks.

"My understanding is it’s being proofread," Bird said. "If there are no
changes from the Senate version, it would go next to the governor’s
desk. There have been a number of what some folks would call a
controversial bill that have come out of the chamber before."

SB 776 bans the removal of a fetus until the
head or fetal trunk is outside a woman’s body with the intention of
aborting it. The procedures banned by the bill are collectively
referred to by opponents as partial birth abortion, though the term has
no medical relevancy.

The bill allows for exceptions only in situations of threat to a
woman’s life. It is a replica of a federal law that was upheld by the
U.S. Supreme Court in January. Michigan is covered under the federal

Liz Boyd, spokeswoman for Granholm, said she did not know when the bill
would arrive on Granholm’s desk, but said she opposes it.

"She will veto that bill," Boyd said. "The bill is unnecessary. It does not take into consideration the health of the mother."

The House passed the bill with 70 votes, sufficient to override a veto.
But the Senate was one vote short of a veto-proof supermajority.

And people on both sides of the issue said a veto will be tough to override.

"I don’t know a lobbyist in this town who’s confident of an override,"
Rivet said. "It’s just very, very difficult. We have to be realistic."

Margy Long, vice president of public advocacy and communications for
Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan, said members of a
governor’s party are typically under considerable pressure to not
override a veto.

Long said Planned Parenthood was encouraging its members to urge
Granholm to veto the bill and for legislators to sustain the veto.

"It’s already federal law," she said. "So they don’t need this bill at all."

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  • anna-clark

    Thanks for keeping our situation in Michigan in its broad context—this matters beyond our borders!