Michigan lawmakers may act on separate abortion insurance

Mon Dec 2, 2013 4:05pm EST

Rick Snyder, the Republican governor of Michigan, speaks during an interview in New York, November 8, 2013. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Rick Snyder, the Republican governor of Michigan, speaks during an interview in New York, November 8, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

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(Reuters) - The Michigan legislature will consider a proposal this week that, if enacted, would make it the ninth state to prohibit insurance companies from offering abortion services unless women pay an extra fee in addition to the usual premium.

The proposal will go before the majority-Republican legislature as a petition organized by Right to Life of Michigan, an anti-abortion group, that was approved on Monday by the Michigan Board of Canvassers.

Under Michigan's constitution, the legislature could approve the proposed "Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act" by a simple majority vote that does not require the signature of Republican Governor Rick Snyder.

Snyder, who identifies himself as pro-life, vetoed a similar measure lawmakers approved less than a year ago. He said in a letter to constituents that the bill went too far because it treated situations involving rape and incest as elective abortions, and because it interfered with the private insurance market.

"Michigan citizens do not want to pay for someone else's abortion with their tax dollars or health insurance premiums," Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said in a statement. "Abortion is not health care; abortion kills a living, developing human being."

The Michigan petition is one of a series of state initiatives in recent years that attempt to limit abortions, including banning the procedure after 20 weeks and enacting new restrictions on abortion providers.

Eight states now have similar abortion insurance laws, according to Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion rights research group.

Nash said the Michigan proposal would force women to decide to purchase the additional coverage without knowing whether they would ever need an abortion, and would not allow a woman to buy coverage after getting pregnant by any means, even rape.

"Seeking an abortion isn't something that anyone plans for," Nash said.

Michigan House Democrats slammed the petition in a statement, saying it would hurt victims of rape and incest.

"Right to Life wants to further traumatize these women by denying health care coverage to terminate a pregnancy forced upon them in the most heinous of circumstances," said Rep. Pam Faris, a Democrat.

The Michigan legislature will receive the petition on Tuesday after returning from a two-week break. If the legislature rejects it, or does nothing with the proposal in 40 days, it will be put to a statewide vote on the November 2014 ballot.

The petitioners submitted about 316,000 signatures - only 258,088 were required for it to be approved for consideration, according to the state elections board. The signatures submitted represent about 3 percent of Michigan's population of 9.9 million.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by David Gregorio)

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Comments (4)
rdvaughn wrote:
“Abortion is not health care; abortion kills a living, developing human being.”

Human beings are self-sufficent biological organisms.

Human beings are conscious.

Human beings were born.

A fetus is not a human BEING; it is a human that is yet to be.

Dec 02, 2013 4:51pm EST  --  Report as abuse
KMG365 wrote:
“Business regulations are killing business! They should be able to do what they want. We need LESS regulations! We feel so strongly about that, that we’re going to pass a law regulating insurance companies, telling them what kind of plans they can and can’t sell” – Republican hypocrisy at its finest.

Dec 03, 2013 4:02pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TXRN wrote:
A human being is a homo sapien, whether developing fetus or elderly. Its a matter of developmental stage of LIFE. A human yet to be, has not been conceived yet. You suggest that somehow birth turns us into humans, when it is not birth that makes a human. It is our biological identity from conception, and that identity is separate from the mother. A fetus is not an unconcious parasite.

Dec 07, 2013 12:41pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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