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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Abortion rights opponents begin canvassing efforts to bypass governor veto

person signing a petition while another holds a clipboard
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You may soon be asked to sign a petition to restrict abortion in Michigan.

Updated: Wednesday June 26, 2019 at 3:08 p.m.:

The clock started Wednesday for abortion rights opponents to get enough valid signatures in order to get a measure on the 2020 ballot.

Some churches, Right to Life of Michigan, and other groups now have 180 days (about six months) to get more than 340,000 valid signatures. Their measure would outlaw the abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation – or D & E. The procedure is most commonly used in the second trimester.

If the group gets enough signatures, the state Legislature would first have a chance to pass the measure into law without the governor’s signature.

Barbara Listing is the president of Right to Life of Michigan. She says there are bills in the state House and Senate to ban this procedure – but: “We are not going to wait. The governor has indicated that she has promised to veto any, probably any, pro-life initiative.”

Opponents of the petition say this is an attempt to erode women’s right to choose in the state.

Original post, Friday, June 21, 2019, 8:11 a.m.:

This week the state approved the language for two ballot measures. But they could become law before Michiganders get a chance to vote on them.

Zach Gorchow is the editor of Gongwer News Service. He spoke to Michigan Radio’s Morning Edition host Doug Tribou about the ballot measures.

Right to Life of Michigan is behind one of the proposals. It would ban an abortion procedure called dilation and evacuation. The procedure is most frequently used during second-trimester abortions. The second ballot measure would ban abortions after cardiac activity is detected. Gorchow says that could be as early as six weeks of pregnancy.

If the campaigns collect enough signatures, the Legislature would have the option to approve the measures, making them law before they go to the statewide ballot. In that scenario, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer would not have the power to veto the measures.

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