Last week, Michigan’s Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed funding for maternity homes, adoption tax credits, and other budget items that assist pregnant women. While post-Dobbs, Whitmer and her fellow Democrats seek to conceal the party’s pro-abortion agenda by pushing state courts to institute the extreme abortion regime they demand, in striking from the budget any spending that has a semblance of supporting the choice of life, Whitmer exposes her party’s abortion-first position.
When the Supreme Court overturned Roe and Casey and held in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that there is no federal constitutional right to abortion, the high court stressed that it was returning the authority to regulate abortion to the people and their elected representatives. While Republican legislators took heed of the high court’s directive proposing, debating, and compromising on bills regulating abortion, Democrats instead flocked to state courts with the hope that activist judges would supplant the will of the people by using their raw judicial power to find a right to abortion in the state constitution—a tactic the pro-abortion left began decades ago in anticipation of the Supreme Court reversing Roe and Casey.
This approach provides Democrats cover to hide behind soundbites such as “health care” and “medical decisions” without staking a public position on specific abortion regulations. Kansas provides a veritable case study of how Democrat lawmakers seek refuge behind the battlement constructed by that state’s Supreme Court out of its 150-plus-year-old constitution.
In 2019, in Hodes and Nauser v. Schmidt, “in response to a lawsuit brought by two abortion providers challenging a state law that criminalized dismemberment abortions—in which live fetuses are killed by being ripped apart limb by limb—the Kansas Supreme Court declared for the first time that the state’s constitution provides a fundamental right to abortion.” While several Democrats voted in favor of the ban on second-trimester D&E, or dilation and evacuation, abortions that were at issue in Hodes, when the Kansas legislature voted to amend the state constitution to overturn Hodes and to put the Value Them Both constitutional amendment on the ballot for the citizens of the state to decide, not one Democrat voted in favor of the amendment.
That Kansas’s supposedly pro-life Democrat lawmakers voted against returning the authority to make laws to regulate abortion to the legislative branch makes no sense, unless they faced demands from the national party to oppose the Value Them Both Amendment. After all, the passage of the Value Them Both Amendment does not institute any specific abortion regulation. All it does is allow the bicameral state legislature to pass such bills as the people’s elected representatives deem appropriate.
While opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment in Kansas by the handful of ostensibly pro-life Democrats is either illogical, hypocritical, or cowardly, the Democrat Party’s position makes eminent sense once one realizes abortion extremism is the party’s mainstream. And post-Dobbs, the only way to hide that reality from the public and enshrine in the law an abortion regime overwhelmingly opposed by the majority of Americans is to make state court justices do the dirty work.
With a vote on Kansas’s Value Them Both Amendment scheduled for just over two weeks away, on Aug. 2, Democrats’ talking points confirm that strategy. “The constitutional amendment on the Kansas ballot will mandate government control over our private medical decisions and pave the way for a total ban on abortion — with no exception for rape, incest or to save the mother’s life,” PBS reported Ashley All, a spokeswoman for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, complaining. “I’m grieving for all the pregnant people who can’t access care,” Dr. Iman Alsaden, the medical director for Planned Parenthood Great Plains, added in an interview with PBS.
The Kansas amendment, however, merely clarifies that there is no state constitutional right to abortion. And while the abortion lobby highlights the possibility that a future Kansas legislature may prohibit abortions, even in cases of rape, incest, or where a mother’s life is at risk, they ignore the reality that under Hodes’ interpretation of the state’s constitution, Kansas’s Supreme Court has dictated an extreme leftist regime of abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy, for any reason and with taxpayer funding, and with no waiting periods or parental notification. Democrats will have achieved that end without needing to publicly support or vote for such laws, and in turn, will avoid the backlash from voters who believe the state has gone too far.
Conversely, should the constitutional amendment pass, to become law, abortion legislation in Kansas will need to obtain the support of a majority of members of both the House and the Senate, and possibly a super-majority in the event the Democrat governor vetoes the bill. The legislators will be forced to discuss and debate the bill and put their names and their political future behind the righteousness of the proposed abortion regulation. Every election, thereafter, the people’s representatives must face voters and answer for their positions, and if the populace disagrees with the law or finds it too “extreme,” the remedy lies in the ballot box.
Democrats do not want the people to decide abortion policy, however, because they know the populace does not support their party’s extreme abortion-on-demand position, which is why in Kansas, abortion activists pretend a complete abortion ban is on the ballot. Likewise, in Michigan, rather than debate abortion policy and push for legislation to implement the public’s preferences, Whitmer has instead turned to the state Supreme Court to institute an extreme abortion regime through the Michigan constitution, while she and her fellow Democrats sidestep debates over limits on abortions.
In fact, in announcing that she had asked the Michigan Supreme Court to expedite her lawsuit seeking a declaration of a state constitutional right to abortion, Whitmer used nearly identical language to that spoken from the abortion lobby in Kansas. “While politicians in other states rush to ban abortion, even in instances of rape or incest, Michigan must remain a place where a woman’s ability to make her own medical decisions with her trusted health care provider is respected,” Whitmer said in a press release.
What Whitmer won’t tell the public, though, and what she and her fellow Democrats don’t want Michiganders to know, is that they want an abortion regime that permits abortion on demand for any reason until the moment of birth, paid for by taxpayers. And that is precisely what will be installed on the populace if the Michigan Supreme Court finds a right to abortion in the state constitution. Further, by using the Michigan Supreme Court to achieve this end, rather than the legislative process, Democrats can avoid the extremist label.
But while Whitmer’s rhetoric and her use of the judicial system to achieve her ends may mask Democrats’ intent, her line-item vetoes in last week’s 2022-2023 budget make clear where the party stands on abortion, even if she prefers the courts provide the bottom line: It is not about choice or helping women; it is about abortion first.
Whitmer’s stark strike-out from the budget of funds designed to help women choose life or to aid women who have chosen life says it all. The budget items she struck went much beyond assistance to pregnancy resource centers, which since Dobbs have strangely been in Democrats’ crosshairs. Whitmer actually struck $4 million allocated for maternity homes that provide “safe housing and comprehensive support services without charge for pregnant women who are without a safe home and in need.”
Whitmer’s line-item vetoes likewise exposed the revolting truth that Democrats prefer abortion to adoption. Here, the Democrat governor struck $2 million in tax credits to adoptive parents and $10 million designed to provide factual information to pregnant women about adoption as an alternative to abortion, including the birth mother’s ability to establish a pre-birth plan.
No amount of political posturing can overcome the reality seen in the black lines Whitmer used to cross out care for women and their children. And hide as they might behind activist judges, that budget tells the world Whitmer and her fellow Democrats don’t value women, or choice, or health care. They value abortion.