News Release: Michigan Catholic Conference Statement on Governor’s Veto of Senate Bill 395

October 10, 2003

LANSING—Michigan Catholic Conference President and Chief Executive Officer Sister Monica Kostielney, R.S.M., today made the following statement on the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 395, the Legal Birth Definition Act:

“Today is a setback for women, children—born and unborn, and society as a whole. The lack of legal protection for newborn children even during the birthing process undermines the dignity of all human persons. No one is exempt from the dehumanizing effects of this most unfortunate decision.

“The Governor’s veto message alleges the bill does not adequately protect ‘the life and health of the mother.’ Yet Senate Bill 395, which passed the Legislature with strong bipartisan support, clearly reads that precautions are allowed ‘to save the life of the mother’ and ‘to avert an imminent threat to the physical health of the mother.’

“At its core, the Legal Birth Definition Act is a justice and human rights issue that must be immediately addressed. The content of this legislation speaks to the fundamental principle that the primary goal of any public policy is to protect the life and dignity of every human person. This is sound public policy that ensures every child who enters this world will have the full legal rights as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

“The Michigan Catholic Conference will continue to vigorously pursue this legislation until it is enacted. Obviously there is tremendous frustration and disappointment with the Governor over her decision to veto such an important bill, but I have full faith that either through a legislative over-ride or a petition drive the Legal Birth Definition Act will have its place in Michigan law.”

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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