Lansing Update: Pro Life Advocacy Against RHA Helped Save Some Abortion Limits from Repeal
Posted November 22, 2023
MCC Highlights Pro-Life Advocacy as Governor Signs Watered-Down RHA
Gov. Whitmer this week signed into law most of the bills within a scaled-back version of the pro-abortion Reproductive Health Act, as Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) credited the legislative and grassroots advocacy against the RHA that ultimately helped defeat numerous policies within the broader package of bills that were originally introduced earlier this year.
In a statement released in response to the bill signing, MCC noted that RHA proposals to require Michigan taxpayers to fund abortions through the Medicaid program, eliminate a 24-hour informed consent period, and remove screening for coercion prior to an abortion did not make it to the Governor’s desk.
Unfortunately, measures that did pass and were signed into law include the repeal of licensing and inspection requirements for abortion clinics, thereby undoing reforms enacted in 2013 that, for the first time, mandated state oversight of most surgical abortion facilities in Michigan. MCC referenced polling from last month that shows 95% of Michigan residents support keeping licensing and inspection standards on abortion clinics.
The abortion expansion bills signed into law by Governor Whitmer this week were House Bills 4951, 4953–4956 and Senate Bills 474, 476 and 477. House Bill 4949 is expected to be signed at a later date. That bill codifies into state law provisions of Proposal 3, removes the state prohibition on the late-term partial-birth abortion procedure, and overturns state law protecting people from paying for others’ elective abortions with their health plan premiums.
The watered-down RHA package when fully signed into law will still result in:
- Minimal to no transparency or accountability for abortion clinics due to the removal of reporting requirements, including for instances of complications that occur during an abortion.
- Aborted children merely discarded in waste containers due to a repeal of requirements to dispose of fetal remains safely and humanely.
- More abortions from college-age women after a policy that prohibits universities and colleges from referring students for abortions was repealed from the Pregnant and Parenting Student Services Act.
Thanks to members of the Catholic Advocacy Network like you, more than 6,000 messages were sent to lawmakers asking them to reject the RHA package, which constituted a significant amount of pressure on lawmakers from their constituents.
MCC’s other advocacy efforts against the RHA included testifying against the bills in legislative committees, numerous meetings with lawmakers, issuance of press releases, placement of op-eds in Catholic and secular media, as well as commissioning the poll on Michigan voters’ attitudes on abortion that was mentioned above.
Giving Thanks for You, Members of the Catholic Advocacy Network
As Catholics living in the light of the Resurrection, we all have much to be thankful for. As Thanksgiving approaches, it serves as a reminder to reflect on what we are thankful for across our lives.
For us at MCC, it is no different. We are thankful for the nearly 12,000 actions taken by Catholic Advocacy Network members like you to contact lawmakers on important issues this year. We are also thankful that our network of Catholic grassroots advocates nearly doubled this year.
We are grateful for the grassroots members who stepped up to ask lawmakers this year to expand the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, expand free school meals to more nonpublic schools, protect the lives of mothers and unborn children, and to preserve religious liberty.
Members of the CAN like you amplify MCC’s advocacy efforts as we work to propose the Catholic perspective on public policy to lawmakers. As each lawmaker is directly responsible to his or her constituents, your efforts to directly contact your lawmaker are crucial in our mission. The thousands of messages sent to lawmakers across the state on important issues this past year do matter – our staff have heard firsthand from lawmakers about the impact you have had.
Thank you again for your active participation as a faithful Catholic citizen!
Thank God Ahead of Time This Thanksgiving
MCC will be closed on Thursday, November 23 and Friday, November 24 in recognition of Thanksgiving.
With the Legislature off until January, Lansing Update will publish weekly as needed, particularly as the Governor signs legislation sent to her by lawmakers prior to adjournment last week.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here is a reflection attributed to Blessed Solanus Casey, the Capuchin friar who served in Detroit for 20 years and who was beatified in 2017 in Detroit:
“Let us thank him at all times and under whatever circumstances. Thank him for our creation and our existence, thank him for everything — for his plans in the past that by our sins and our want of appreciation and patience have so often been frustrated and that he so often found necessary to change. Let us thank him for all his plans for the future — for trials and humiliations as well as great joy and consolations; for sickness and whatever death he may design to plan … thank him ahead of time for whatever he foresees.”