Michigan's elections bureau says a group failed to collect enough petitions to put veto-proof legislation before the Republican-led Legislature that would prohibit a second-trimester abortion procedure known medically as "dilation and evacuation."
Monday's report was a blow to the Michigan Values Life committee. It submitted 380,000 signatures in December, 40,000 more than needed.
Staff in the elections bureau, however, estimated there are only about 333,000 valid signatures - 7,276 short. The staff recommends that the bipartisan Board of State Canvassers deny certification when it meets Thursday.
A coalition led by Planned Parenthood had challenged the petition signatures, saying the group did not meet the required signature threshold.
Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing wrote in a statement the group is “extremely disappointed.”
“We’re going to take our case to the Board of State Canvassers, which has the final say. This petition drive has been one uphill battle after another for more than a year now, but the fight is not over,” she wrote.
Right to Life of Michigan Legislative Director Geneveieve Marnon said the group will make the case to the Board of Canvassers that the staff report is wrong.
“We have an option to make a presentation to the Board of Canvassers to make our case, as to why we think certain signatures should have been included in the sample that were excluded, for example, or other various arguments," Marnon said.
“There are a couple outstanding signatures that we believe should have been included, and we’ve got some pretty good reasons for why we think that.”
Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has vowed to veto identical legislation. But a governor's veto can be bypassed through the initiative process.
Updated 6/16/2020 at 2:53 p.m.: This story was updated to include petition challenges led by Planned Parenthood, and additional comment from Right to Life of Michigan.