Question 1): The 11-bill Democrat-sponsored “Reproductive Health Act” is facing bipartisan opposition in the Michigan House of Representatives. Part of the package includes allowing taxpayer dollars to fund elective abortions. The legislation also includes legalizing late-term (aka partial-birth) elective abortions and repealing a requirement for ‘informed consent.’ Is this a political overreach by Michigan Democrats?
Answer 1): Yes, at least in part because majority Democrats seem to be unaware of Michigan political history, or are ignoring it.
In fact, the bill legalizing Medicaid-paid abortions has already been rejected by voters, way back in 1988. A year earlier, in 1987, an initiative petition was launched to BAN Medicaid-paid abortions in Michigan. The petitioners successfully collected the necessary number of signatures, validated by Democratic Secretary of State Richard Austin.
The petition then went to the Legislature, which had 40 days to do one of three things — 1) Ignore the petition, in which case the language would have gone on the November, 1988, statewide ballot for voters to approve or reject; 2) Reject the petition, by the same simple majority vote in each chamber, in which case it would also have gone on the ballot; or 3) Validate the petition, by the same simple majority vote of both the House and the Senate. The Legislature chose Option #3 — in which case THE PETITION LANGUAGE BECAME LAW.
It should be noted that the Legislature at that time consisted of a 20-18 Republican majority in the Senate AND A WHOPPING 64-46 DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY in the state House, meaning that A BIPARTISAN MAJORITY OF BOTH DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS IN THE LEGISLATURE APPROVED OF THE LANGUAGE IN THE PETITION, BANNING MEDICAID-PAID ABORTIONS.
But wait!! The constitution also gives power to the citizenry to mount ANOTHER petition calling for a REFERENDUM on any bill enacted by the Legislature to be subject to a statewide vote. Pro-choice/abortion rights activists mounted a petition drive calling for a referendum on what the Legislature had done. This petition drive also was successful, and the Legislature couldn’t stop it.
So the question went on the November 1988 ballot, where MICHIGAN VOTERS APPROVED THE INITIATIVE PETITION LANGUAGE WHICH HAD BEEN VALIDATED BY THE LEGISLATURE. THE VOTE WASN’T EVEN CLOSE —roughly 57% of the state’s voters cast ballots to approve the new law “to prohibit use of public funds for the abortion of a recipient of welfare benefits unless abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother.”
So PA 59 of 1987 was adopted and has been state law ever since. It is the only post-Roe v. Wade abortion question ever to appear on the ballot in the past half-century, other than Proposal 3 in 2022. There has never been any attempt by anybody or any interest group to rescind PA 59 in the past 35 years. In other words, today’s legislative Democrats are now seeking to overturn a law that many of their own party’s members of the Legislature in 1987-88 voted to approve, as did the state’s voters. To rescind PA 59 doesn’t require a 3/4 majority in the Legislature, because that kind of a super-majority vote is required only to overturn an initiative petition, not a referendum, which the 1988 vote was.
Legalizing Medicaid-paid abortions seeks to expand on Proposal 3, approved by voters in last year’s election. Scuttling PA 59 is just one of the legislation’s many moving parts, each of which may be objectionable to one or more legislative Democrats. Majority House Dems have already separated out any attempt to invalidate a state law requiring parental consent for minors seeking abortions, which polls show a majority of voters support. Democrats feared that that would be too heavy a lift for a caucus that has only one vote to spare. It would be too dangerous politically to pursue, so they did not include it in their package. But they also should remove several other relatively popular items on their wish list — such as getting rid of state law mandating informed consent and prohibiting ‘partial birth abortions’ and Medicaid-subsidized abortions. If they don’t, they’re playing with fire going into next year’s election.
Question 2): Why hasn’t Governor Whitmer been more visibly involved with the UAW strikers?
Answer 2): It’s somewhat surprising she hasn’t been, but she’s scared. With her prominent role in the Biden campaign, she should be right by Joe’s side when he became the first president to join a UAW picket line, in Metro Detroit last week. Whitmer doesn’t have to run for re-election, so she doesn’t have to worry about alienating moderate or conservative voters, at least for now. The principal reason she might want to distance herself from the strikers is because she claims she’s committed to economic development, particularly to attracting out-of-state and foreign manufacturing and other business enterprises, so to have her joined at the hip with UAW president Shawn Fain may not be a good look. Plus, this strike is a ticking time bomb politically that could explode in Biden’s and the Democrats’ faces somewhere down the road, and Whitmer doesn’t want to get hit by the flying debris.
Question 3): Former President Donald TRUMP leads President Joe BIDEN in seven important ‘purple’ states according to an online Reuters/Ipsos poll of 4,413 adults conducted between Sept. 8 and Sept. 14. According to the results, Trump led with 41 percent to Biden’s 35 percent in Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Nevada. But what do polling results of this sort actually tell us?
Answer 3): Only that Trump is in a far stronger position than anyone expected him to be at this point in the four-year election cycle, and that Biden is surprisingly weak. Trump has put huge distance between himself and the Republican primary field, and he’s holding his own with the general electorate. The indictments seem to have actually helped him. So has his decision to ignore the first two GOP presidential debates. There is still a long way to go, and with two candidates this old something catastrophic could well happen within the next year. Also, there’s the question of whether indictments necessarily lead to convictions, and, if so, will they come before the election?