Michigan Information & Research Service Inc.
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The Case For The Legislature To Take Up Modest Abortion Proposal

08/10/22 04:09 PM By Emily Michienzi

(Source: MIRS.news, Published 08/09/2022) Quiet conversations are beginning in Republican circles about the possibility of the House and Senate taking up a modest abortion proposal to defuse the arguably expansive Reproductive Freedom For All ballot proposal and force the Governor to either accept a comprise or embrace the "radical proposal."


Nothing may come of this, but the rough idea is for the Legislature to put on the Governor's desk a bill banning abortion after 12-15 weeks, requiring parental consent for minors seeking abortions and other regulations that a majority of Michigan voters would support.


The idea is two-fold: First, it would present to the public an alternative that likely a strong majority of voters would support: Limited abortions under strict regulations. This would be in stark contrast to the all-or-nothing options voters are currently stuck with.


The pro-life side is fine leaving the 1931 abortion ban in place, which only provides exceptions for the life of the mother. The pro-choice side wants the "Reproductive Freedom For All," which is being depicted as the nation's most expansive pro-abortion proposal to date.


As it stands, the proposal's language allows for all abortions until the day of birth. However, that can later be regulated by the state to "fetal viability" as long as the mother's mental and physical health is allowed a carve out.


It gives "every individual . . . a fundamental right to reproductive freedom and effectuate decisions about all matters related to pregnancy . . . abortion care."


According to John Bursch of the Alliance Defending Freedom, this opens the door for teenagers to get abortions without the consent of their parents.


Theoretically, legislation would force the Governor to publicly act on her No. 1 campaign talking point. If she's not willing to sign a bill creating limited abortion similar to what was Michigan law prior to Roe v. Wade being overturned, she can be framed as an out-of-touch liberal on the subject.


The anti-ballot proposal side is planning an expensive ad campaign to bring up wild scenarios this constitutional amendment could possibly make real: Youth starting gender transitioning without parental consent. Prosecutors unable to charge "back alley" abortionists who botch a procedure.


Maybe it all works. Maybe the scenarios are too outrageous for voters to believe.


Voters in Kansas two weeks ago showed they don't want a near abortion ban and Republican legislators don't want to be on the receiving end of that sentiment.


If the Governor were to sign a legislative abortion alternative, it would arguably kill "Reproductive Freedom For All" and weaken the abortion issue as a campaign talking point.


The biggest initial hurdle is getting to first base with the idea in the wildly conservative Republican caucuses in both the House and Senate. Many of the members came into office with Right to Life support. They have moral issues with anything other than abortions limited to the life of the mother. Some support abortion exceptions for rape and incest, but not all.


When this scenario was brought up to Emily Kroll, who runs the Michigan Right to Life's Political Action Committee, she said, "Unequivocally, we would never support that."


Selling this idea to individual members would be a lot of work, even if the political benefits make sense. Allowing Reproductive Freedom For All to go on the ballot is a roll of the dice for everyone involved. It's all or nothing.


It's either "abortion on demand" or no abortion at all. If the Michigan Supreme Court, which has a majority of Democratic-nominated justices, finds a way to invalidate the 1931 abortion ban, a new law could create regulations where none would conceivably exist.


Republican legislators could look like the sensible middle as they work hard to connect with independents in their quest to keep the majority of both the House and Senate.


Right to Life is hoping the idea goes nowhere as Kroll said, "We don't play politics with human lives."