Abortion Health Insurance Proposal Moves to Legislature

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

Should abortions be covered under regular health insurance plans? That's what Michigan lawmakers have to decide in the coming weeks.

Today the State Board of Canvassers certified a petition initiative that would require women to buy additional health insurance to cover abortions.

With more than 315,000 signatures from all 83 michigan counties, a group of pro-life activitists are confident in their plan.

"We really believe that abortion is not healthcare, and that tax dollars should not be going to subsidize abortions," said Genevieve Marnon, Public Relations Associate for Right to Life of Michigan.

The anti-abortion group spearheaded the petition initiative back in June, anticipating the start of Obamacare. This proposal would ban abortion coverage from health plans unless an additional policy is purchased. The group says it's all about funding.

"This is not about the legality of abortion," Marnon said. "It's not about the access to abortion, it's really about who pays for it."

But critics say they're not buying it.

"This isn't really about how abortions are funded," Director of Government Relations at Planned Parenthood Meghan Groen said. "This is about who makes those decisions, and who controls women's lives, and if it's really going to be a woman and her family, and the best medical decision with her doctor or if it's going to be lawmakers in Lansing."

Planned Parenthood calls the proposal a gross government overreach, and some of those lawmakers agree. They argue it would force women to predict the unpredictable, with no exceptions for rape, incest, or medical emergencies.

"This is a terrible proposal being pushed by special interest groups that would essentially force women to plan ahead for unplanned pregnancy, even in the case of rape," Communications Director for Senate Democrats Robert McCann said. "Essentially what it's saying is, you need to buy rape insurance, and making parents choose to do that for their daughters even."

But now it's up to the legislature, and House Republicans are reviewing it carefully

"The bigger question is if we are going to take action on it, what is the timing of that," Ari Adler, spokesperon for the House Speaker, said.

Lawmakers have 40 sessions day to act on this. They can approve it, and then it becomes law. They can reject it or do nothing, and then it goes to the voters in November 2014, or they can create an alternative proposal altogether.

Those 40 days begin when the legislature officially receives the certified petition, which is expected to happen tomorrow.

Governor Snyder vetoed a similar measure last year, but in this case, his signature is not required, and he has no vetoing power.

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