Recently, Michigan’s Governor vetoed more than 20 million dollars in state aid to adoption and pro-life pregnancy centers around the state. Due to the Governor’s action, only clinics that offer abortion services receive funding, thereby limiting access to real reproductive choices for pregnant women in Michigan.
In a letter to the Senate, the Governor misrepresented,
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 ever 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.
So, what exactly did the governor defund?
- By vetoing Section 226e of the budget, she withdrew funding from community college “Pregnant and Parenting Student Services Offices” that provide family housing, child care, flexible academic scheduling, comprehensive student health care, parenting classes, and other services. She also defunded services providing child care resources, information on foster care and adoption, and other family planning resources.
- In Section 227(c)11, she defunded public universities from receiving similar resources.
- In Section 274a, she removed prohibitions on university labs conducting research on aborted fetal tissue.
- In Section 275k, the governor vetoed intuitional grants of up to $50,000 per organization to help pregnant and parenting students and those who are economically disadvantaged with housing, comprehensive student healthcare, child care, education access, and other essential services.
- Limiting or restricting a mother’s access to affordable housing, education, and childcare do not empower women to make healthcare choices; if anything, these restrictions hinder women from becoming successful and having viable options from which to actually choose.
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s July 2022 Out of Reach Report, a person in Michigan needs to earn at least $19 an hour make rent on a two-bedroom apartment, which on average, costs about $993 a month. For pregnant college students, these vetoes could mean that student-mothers and their children are unable to find adequate housing. Without childcare, those same student mothers will have an even more difficult time finding work and keeping up with studies that could provide a pathway to a better career and brighter future. In a year when the state is sitting on record sums of money, defunding these humanitarian programs is nothing short of cruel. At the very least, these financial policies are anti-woman, anti-choice, and anti-child.
Other items vetoed by the governor include $4 million for maternity homes expansion, $3 million in funding for a nonprofit that promotes childbirth and alternatives to abortion, and $2 million in tax credits for parents adopting children.
One non-profit that was eligible for up to $700,000 before the veto was Real Alternatives, an unplanned pregnancy free resource center with the slogan “Empowering Women for Life.” They offer material resources to assist mothers of newborns who are struggling, and they help women find life-sustaining alternatives to abortion. They also provide free grief counseling services to help improve emotional and mental health of mothers. One Real Alternatives counselor put it this way: “The answer to getting rid of a crisis pregnancy is not getting rid of the baby; it’s getting rid of the crisis.” For women who feel forced into seeking abortion (roughly 65% of all women seeking abortion), they offer free, pragmatic alternatives as well as financial resources to empower struggling mothers with actual options. Other tools like education and career assistance can make a huge difference in giving expectant mothers a long-term path to a better life for themselves and their baby.
Unfortunately, the Governor views holistic, life affirming reproductive healthcare and parenting support services as “fake healthcare centers.” Amid record high inflation and supply chain shortages, the loss of this much needed funding is expected to significantly affect many pregnancies and parenting centers. Statewide, there are just over 100 such free clinics resource centers across the state. Please consider volunteering, and financially supporting, a pro-life pregnancy center near you. In this fight to defend life, we all have something offer. Be the hands and feet of Jesus. Together, we can keep these vital services running strong and prove that real healthcare doesn’t destroy life.
Read the Governor’s full letter concerning her vetoes here: https://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(gunik0w255a0uuylev2prmaz))/documents/2021-2022/billcurrentversion/Senate/PDF/2022-SCVBS-0845-00I544.pdf