New Non-Profit Promoting Women's Access To Health Care

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"Lets get the politics out of the debate about our fundamental right to health care," said Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing).

It's a charging point for the new non-profit Right to Health which Whitmer launched at the Capitol on Thursday.

The group is focused on informing people about legislative decisions it says restricts women's access to healthcare. Teaming up with Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union the non-profit plans on traveling across the state talking about any obstacles to women's healthcare.

"After the rape insurance debate so many people asked us 'what can we do?' 'How can we change what is happening?' So we thought it's important to create this non-profit to have that conversation to try to educate the public and try to change the tide," Senator Whitmer added.

For Whitmer the tipping point came last year when the legislature passed a measure requiring women to buy additional insurance coverage for abortions. Opponents refer to it as rape insurance since the only exception for coverage is if a woman's life is in danger.
Right to Health says it's just one example of the legislature creating road blocks in health care for women.

"Often these laws include medically complicated terminology and things that make it very difficult for physicians to figure out what they can do and what they can't do and that has a chilling effect on practice," said Dr. Tim Johnson, professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Michigan Health System.

Right to Life, the group that led the petition for change in abortion coverage, says the options are already there.

"You have the choice to buy the rider or not buy the rider, you have the choice to work at Hobby Lobby or not work at Hobby Lobby, you have the choice to use birth control or not use birth control, you have the choice to pay for it or not," said Public Affairs Associate for Right to Life Genevieve Marnon.

Since Right to Health is a non-profit it can not get involved in political campaigns or make contributions to candidates. Instead members hope to start a conversation that will lead to changes.

"The only way you ever make change is to educate people and aspire them to take action and that's really the goal here," Whitmer said.

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