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Tipsheet

Pro-Abortion Gov. Whitmer Vetoes Funding for Pregnancy and Adoption Support

AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) signed a $76 billion budget bill Wednesday, the largest in the state's history, but vetoed funds and tax credits for pro-life pregnancy centers and adoption programming that would have equaled less than $20 million.

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The budget bill is almost 400 pages of bureaucratic lingo that will take effect at the start of the 2023 fiscal year.

Despite Whitmer's plan to spend more than the state has ever spent, she couldn't help but veto the less than $20 million in funding Republican lawmakers wanted to allocate to pro-life pregnancy centers, adoption programming, and other similar operations. That $20 million would have made up less than 0.03% of the total budget. 

There were a few items Whitmer line-item vetoed. She wrote a statement to the state senate explaining why she vetoed them:

I am using my veto pen to reject line items that harm women's health care. These line items would create a gag rule preventing reproductive health-service providers from even mentioning abortion and otherwise make it harder for women to get the health care they need. Any efforts to undermine a woman's ability to make her own medical decisions with her trusted health-care provider will earn my disapproval. Women and doctors should be making health care decisions — not politicians.

One of the items Whitmer vetoed in her final budget signing after deciding it would “harm women’s health care” included $1 million for community colleges to establish facilities to provide services for pregnant and parenting students — these services would have been health care, housing, child care, flexible academic scheduling, and education about responsible parenting.

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For someone like Whitmer, who claims to be pro-choice and pro-woman, this seems like it would have been a good way to allow Michigan women to know their options and know they would have access to aid during and after an unplanned pregnancy. But, this piece of the budget bill included a clause that prohibited these higher education pregnancy and parenting service centers from referring students to abortionists. For that reason, Whitmer shot it down, even though participation in the program would have been completely voluntary for colleges.

Another part of Whitmer's line-item veto clarified the proposed addition of parenting services at colleges and universities was for the purpose of "developing academically or economically disadvantaged student retention programs." The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, which used to be Planned Parenthood's research arm, reports almost 25% of abortions are performed because of the mother's financial instability. According to Whitmer, though, the pregnancy and parenting assistance for students would have made it "harder for women to get the health care they need."

Part of her line-item veto would have promoted ethical stem cell research by eliminating the use of aborted pregnancy tissue in scientific research at colleges and universities. The vetoed section reads:

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From the funds appropriated in section 236(10), public universities classified as doctoral universities under the Carnegie classification system may be awarded research grants up to the full appropriated amount in section 236(10). As a condition to receiving a grant under this section, a public university must agree not to conduct any research on aborted fetal tissue.

This would have prevented colleges and universities from receiving public research grants for any reason if they were to use aborted fetal tissue in their research. About $5 million was allocated for this purpose before Whitmer’s veto.

Even prior to the last minute line-item vetoes, she shot down $10 million in funds for promoting adoption as an alternative to abortion, more than $5 million for pregnancy and maternal support centers, and $2 million in tax credits for adoptive parents.

Genevieve Marnon is the legislative director for the Michigan Right to Life and she lobbied for the tax credits for adoptive parents. She said to Bridge Michigan:

We have the largest budget in history, and we want to throw a bone to adoptive parents, and she's vetoing that? Wow, she's for women alright.

An economics professor at the University of Michigan, Chris Douglas, said to the Center Square:

The veto is not about saving money. Instead, the veto is likely driven by an ideological goal of preventing state resources from funding voluntary alternatives to abortion services.

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For example, Whitmer vetoed $700,000 for Real Alternatives, a pregnancy and parenting support organization that provides confidential counseling, clothing and food for mothers and children, temporary shelter, and other material support. This is a tiny fraction of the total budget, but Whitmer decided the state couldn't spare it.

This $700,000 for Real Alternatives was not included in the additional $1.5 million that was to go toward other pregnancy resource centers in the state. Another $3 million would have been designated for a nonprofit "maternal navigator pilot program" and $4 million for a maternity home program.

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