MichMash: Abortion Procedure Ban Could Become Law Despite Whitmer’s Opposition

Lawmakers have already proven they’re willing to circumvent the governor. Here’s how they can do that.

WDET Digital

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has vowed to veto controversial anti-abortion legislation if it reaches her desk.

The House and Senate have approved separate bills that would make it a crime to perform dilation and evacuation procedures, which are common in second-trimester abortions. Those bills are not yet headed to Whitmer’s desk.

As part of the weekly series MichMash, Jake Neher and Cheyna Roth talk about ways these bills could become law despite Whitmer’s opposition.

The short answer: Supporters of the ban could collect enough signatures — about 340,000 — to send petition-initiated legislation to lawmakers.

If the Legislature approves that, it becomes law — no signature required from the governor. Whitmer would have no way to stop it.

Right to Life of Michigan is already working to put that strategy into action. And there’s precedent for such a move.

When Gov. Rick Snyder was in office, he threatened on multiple occasions to veto legislation to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage law. Supporters of getting rid of that law collected signatures and put that question in front of the Legislature and the repeal went into effect without any input from Snyder.

And that was with a Republican in the governor’s office.

Now, with a Democrat in that seat and Republicans controlling the Legislature, there could be more opportunities for the GOP to consider circumventing the governor. It’s not an easy or cheap strategy, but Whitmer has already promised vetoes on multiple bills that Republican leaders consider priorities.

Click on the audio player above to hear that conversation.


  • Cheyna Roth
    Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She's also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.
  • Jake Neher
    Jake Neher is senior producer for Detroit Today and host of MichMash for 101.9 WDET. He previously reported on the Michigan Legislature for the Michigan Public Radio Network.