S.B. 72 Pregnant and Parenting Student Services was signed into law by Governor Granholm on December 29, 2004. This law introduced by Sen. Alan Sanborn, took effect on March 30, 2005.
This legislation is a funding initiative that would provide grants for institutions of higher education to create an on-campus office that provides pregnant and parenting students with information about resources available through the university, the community and the government in regards to their needs, including: prenatal care, adoption agencies, childcare, family housing, financial assistance, and healthcare. The office will not provide abortion referrals, but instead, will provide information to help students carry their baby to term and stay in school to complete their degree.
This law establishes a fund within the Department of Treasury that will consist of money donated, allocated or paid into the fund from any source public or private that would subsidize the college project. Due to fiscal shortages there is no public funding available, thus private donations are needed to initiate the program. Institutions of higher education will be able to apply for money to create a pregnant and parenting student office through a grant program. The program will begin as a two-year pilot program on two university campuses and two community college campuses. After assessing the success of the program, it will be offered to all Michigan institutions of higher education.
This legislation has successfully lead national pro-life lawmakers to introduce the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Pregnant and Parenting Students Act of 2005. This endeavor would establish a pilot program to provide $10 million for 200 grants to encourage institutions of higher learning to establish offices on campus to aid pregnant and parenting students. If this legislation becomes law, federal grants could be distributed into the state fund created by P.A. 500.
The idea for this bill was conceived at the Pro-Life Women Legislators Caucus that was held by Right to Life of Michigan in the fall of 1999. Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life, addressed the women legislators that day on the topic of college women and abortion. One in five abortions are performed on college students and Foster explored the reasons behind that tragic reality. Foster believes the lack of resources available on college campuses to help women carry their pregnancies to term and stay in school is the primary reason college women choose abortion. The women legislators understand that reality and were excited to support legislation that begins to address the challenges pregnant and parenting college students face.
S.B. 72 was introduced by Sen. Alan Sanborn on 1/28/03 and referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee. Testimony was heard on September 22nd, with only one group speaking in opposition to the legislation. S.B. 72 was passed on the Senate floor with a vote of 26-8 on 12/1 /04. The House passed the bill 99-0 on 12/9/04, and was signed by Governor Granholm on 12/29/04.
Originally, H.B. 4564 was introduced by Rep. Pat Lockwood on 4/17/01. Sen. Alan Sanborn introduced S.B. 878, identical to the House bill, in the Senate on 11/29/01.