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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.

Doug Tribou joined the Michigan Public staff as the host of Morning Edition in 2016. Doug first moved to Michigan in 2015 when he was awarded a Knight-Wallace journalism fellowship at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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