DETROIT — Under intense lobbying pressure from Gov. James J. Blanchard, the Michigan Legislature on Tuesday narrowly failed to override Blanchard's veto of a bill banning state funding for Medicaid abortions for poor women.
Anti-abortion legislators immediately vowed to keep fighting for the override.
In a 72-32 vote Tuesday afternoon, the anti-abortion movement came two votes short of a two-thirds majority it needed in the 110-member state House of Representatives. The override had been widely expected to pass by one or two votes, but at the last minute Blanchard, a Democrat, apparently persuaded two Democratic legislators to sustain his veto, House leaders said. In a statement, Blanchard hailed the vote as "a bipartisan vote for fairness and choice."
The failure to override the veto was particularly disappointing to the leaders of Michigan's anti-abortion movement because this legislative campaign was the closest they had ever come to ending state funding for abortions. Over the last 12 years, bans on abortion funding in Michigan have been vetoed 14 times by Democratic and Republican governors. The more conservative, Republican-controlled state Senate has twice voted to override gubernatorial vetoes, but the anti-abortion movement has always been a few votes short in the Democratic House.