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Whitmer to veto adoption, abortion alternative funds from Michigan budget

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she plans to veto $21 million from a record state budget that she called ‘anti-choice.’ (Bridge file photo)
  • Whitmer to sign $77 billion budget, but veto several items
  • Governor says funds would promote ‘anti-choice’ programs like adoption marketing and tax credits 
  • Right to Life slams Whitmer for expected veto of tax credit for adoptive parents

LANSING – When Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer finishes signing a nearly $77 billion Michigan budget later this week, it won’t include millions of dollars in funding the Republican-led Legislature had included to promote alternatives to abortion. 

Citing “anti-choice” concerns, Whitmer’s office announced Monday she will use her line-item veto power to strike more than $21 million in funding from a general government budget bill.


That includes $10 million Republicans had included for marketing programs that promote adoption as an alternative to abortion, $2 million in tax credits for adoptive parents and $3 million for a “maternal navigator pilot program” that would be run by a nonprofit that “promotes childbirth and alternatives to abortion.”


Whitmer will also veto $1.5 million Republicans included for "pregnancy resource centers" and $700,000 for Real Alternatives, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that expanded into Michigan several years ago, according to her office.  

Whitmer spokesperson Bobby Leddy accused such centers of using “deceptive advertising that target young women and women with low incomes who are seeking abortion care, painting themselves as comprehensive, licensed health care clinics that provide all options, and then lie to women about medical facts.”

“Gov. Whitmer supports legislation that provides every possible resource to women who are pregnant, seeking to start a family, or those who aren’t ready yet, but she cannot support aspects of a bill that sends millions in taxpayer dollars to fake health centers that intentionally withhold information from women about their health, bodies, and full reproductive freedom,” Leddy wrote in a statement.

Genevieve Marnon, who lobbied for the funding for Right to Life of Michigan, said she is not surprised by the expective vetoes but bristled at the governor’s rejection of what the Legislature envisioned as a $2 million tax credit program for adoptive parents. 

“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,” said Marnon, who is legislative director of the state’s Right to Life.

Marnon declined further comment until Whitmer explains her decision in an official veto letter. 

The expected vetoes come as Whitmer continues to ask the Michigan Supreme Court to declare unconstitutional a 1931 law that would ban most abortions in the state. The Republican-led Legislature is defending the law, which was temporarily suspended in May but could be reactivated following the U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down Roe v. Wade.

Update: 1931 Michigan abortion ban can be enforced by county prosecutors, court rules

In signing the education portion of the state budget last week, Whitmer line-item vetoed $1 million for pregnant and parenting student support services at Michigan colleges that would be prohibited from referring students to abortion providers, along with $5 million for research grants prohibiting universities from using stem cells derived from aborted fetal tissue. 

House Appropriations Chair Thomas Albert, who could not immediately be reached for comment Monday, responded to last week’s education vetoes by suggesting Whitmer is “only interested in promoting the deadly choice that ends a human life."

"It’s inexplicable that the governor would refuse to support pregnant community college students who choose to become parents," Albert told the Detroit Free Press.

Whitmer is expected to sign the second part of the state budget — a nearly $55 billion general government spending plan —  later this week, minus the abortion and adoption-related provisions. 

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