Abortion Insurance Debate Heats Up

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

The debate over abortion insurance is heating up at the Capitol.

Lawmakers have 40 session days to make a decision about the proposal that would require women to buy additional health insurance for abortions. People on both sides of the issue aren't wasting any time speaking out.

"I was conceived when my birth mother was held at knife-point by a serial rapist," pro-life activist Rebecca Kiessling said.

She stood at the Capitol with others just like her, who wouldn't be here if their mothers had abortions after being raped.

"We are real people," Mary Rathke said.

They're real pro-life people who want a choice.

"I want to have the right to choose not to pay for other people's abortions," Kiessling said.

The group hopes lawmakers approve the proposal that would ban abortion coverage from health plans, unless an additional policy is purchased. It doesn't include exceptions for rape, incest, or the mother's health, and to them, that's the way it should be. They don't want to be known as exceptions.

"If we want full coverage car insurance, we pay extra for that," Rathke said. "If you are a person who believes in abortion, if you support abortion, if you plan on having an abortion, get the coverage."

But critics argue no woman plans to have an abortion. Senator Gretchen Whitmer, (D) East Lansing, has been outspoken about the proposal.

"It's illogical. It creates another obstacle to a woman exercising her right to choose," Sen. Whitmer said.

Sen. Whitmer plans to do whatever she can to stop this from going forward in the legislature, because some lawmakers believe it shouldn't be their decision.

"When a woman is in a situation where she's facing an unplanned pregnancy, that's a tough enough situation, and then to not have your insurance cover your hospital bills. It doesn't make sense, and let's put it before the voters, and let the voters decide," Sen. Whitmer said.

If the legislature does approve the measure, it becomes law right away, because it doesn't require the Governor's signature and he has no vetoing power in this case.

Lawmakers think this proposal could get fast-tracked in the legislature. It might come up before the end of the session this year.

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