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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently vetoed $20 million in anti-abortion line items in the state’s budget meant to support expecting mothers and adoption campaigns, ripping pro-life pregnancy centers often targeted since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month as “fake health clinics.”
Whitmer, a Democrat, signed the final piece of a $76 billion state budget for the 2023 fiscal year into law Wednesday, centering on investments in the economy, workforce, public health and public safety.
But she scrapped about $20 million using her line-item veto for funding for pro-life causes set aside by Republicans, who control both chambers of Michigan’s state legislature.
Her vetoes included $10 million for a marketing program promoting adoption over abortion, $3 million for organizations that promote “childbirth and alternatives to abortion,” and $100,000 designated for the legal defense of a ban on gender reassignment surgeries or therapies while people are in state prisons.
“Governor Whitmer has been clear that women and qualified medical providers should be making health care decisions—not politicians,” a spokesman for the governor, Bobby Leddy, said in a statement obtained by Michigan Advance. “While politicians in other states rush to ban abortion, even in instances of rape or incest, Michigan must remain a place where a woman’s ability to make her own medical decisions with her trusted health care provider is respected.”
The governor “cannot support aspects of a bill that sends millions in taxpayer dollars to fake health centers that intentionally withhold information from women about their health, bodies, and full reproductive freedom,” Leddy added, taking aim at pro-life crisis pregnancy centers.
He claimed they “often use deceptive advertising that target young women and women with low incomes who are seeking abortion care, painting themselves as comprehensive, licensed health care clinics that provide all options, and then lie to women about medical facts.”
In a statement regarding the new budget last week, state Rep. Thomas Albert, a Republican from Lowell who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, said Whitmer’s vetoes rejecting pro-life funding “support only one option for women in a crisis pregnancy — the deadly choice of abortion.”
“It is shocking that the governor, and her far-left political base, are now so extreme that helping pregnant women who might consider adoption instead is now a bridge too far,” Albert said.
“As good as this budget is, it should have been even better,” Albert said. “Whitmer inexplicably rejected more than $20 million to promote adoption and help women facing a crisis pregnancy. To be clear – this funding was not about access to abortion. It’s about helping women in need and actually sustaining life, and I am profoundly disappointed that the governor would veto this assistance.”
After the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, abortion remains legal in Michigan due to a judge’s injunction in a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood, which is challenging a long unenforced 1931 state law banning abortion unless it is “necessary to preserve” life.
From the time Politico published a leak of the draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, up until and after the official decision was released by the Supreme Court in June, a pro-abortion extremist group dubbed Jane’s Revenge has been targeting pro-life pregnancy centers with arson attacks and vandalism. The DOJ later announced it was investigating the group’s calls for escalating violence amid outcry from Republicans in Congress.
The broader budget that Whitmer signed puts $6 billion toward state and local roads, bridges and other transportation projects. It also puts about $2.6 billion toward public pension systems.
Whitmer highlighted plans to bring the state’s “rainy day fund” to $1.6 billion as a precaution against an economic downturn. She also pushed legislators to focus on infrastructure that will support innovation, health care and youth needs around the state, including a state psychiatric youth facility and a cancer research facility at Wayne State University.
The governor also touted the education budget she signed this month, which added $450 to the per-student funding for K-12 schools, which is roughly a 5.2% increase. The state Department of Education has said the $9,150 commitment per student marks the highest total in Michigan’s history.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.