The Michigan House and Senate have approved a veto-proof law that will require consumers to buy separate policies for abortion coverage. The question was put to the Legislature by a petition drive after Governor Snyder vetoed a similar measure last year because there were no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. The new law will take effect early next year.
The Michigan Capital Building, courtesy wikipedia user Nikopoley.
The state Legislature is in its final week of voting before it adjourns for the year. One of the big questions is whether lawmakers will cast votes on a controversial anti-abortion issue this year. The measure was put before the Legislature by a petition drive that gathered 300 thousand signatures. Read more→
Abortion rights advocates were at the state Capitol to ask lawmakers to sit on petition-initiated legislation, which would send the controversial measure to the ballot instead of the lawbooks.
The petition-initiated bill would require consumers who want abortion coverage to buy an additional insurance policy.
“Our folks will be out there and letting legislators know that this is a vote that they will not forget, that this is something that we will remember in the next election,” said Meghan Hodge Groen is with Planned Parenthood.
The Legislature can either adopt the measure, or allow it to go to the ballot. The House and Senate would have to vote before the winter break begins at the end of next week, or shortly after lawmakers return to the state Capitol in January.
A majority of state lawmakers fall into the “pro-life” column. A majority have also signed the petitions that put the question to the Legislature, effectively making them co-sponsors.
“I know the votes are there because we have a very strong right-to-life caucus,” said state Representative Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake). “I’m not concerned about whether the votes are there or not.”
Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a similar bill last year because it did not allow for exceptions in cases of rape or incest. But voter-initiated laws are not subject to a governor’s veto.
A proposal that would put new restrictions on insurance coverage for abortions is headed to the state Legislature.
The Michigan Board of State Canvassers on Monday moved forward a proposal that would ban abortion coverage in standard health insurance plans. Women would only be able to purchase abortion coverage as a separate rider.
Right to Life of Michigan, which circulated the petitions, is confident lawmakers will approve it in the coming weeks, “because similar legislation was brought up last year – it was voted on, a majority of the House and the Senate did pass it – and because we received a majority of the House and the Senate signatures on the petitions themselves,” said spokesperson Genevieve Marnon.
Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a similar measure last year, saying it would be an intrusion on the private healthcare market. But the voter-initiated law would not be subject to a veto.
Planned Parenthood of Michigan is lobbying against the initiative. Officials with the organization hope legislative leaders won’t make the proposal a priority as they finish their work for the year.
“If they really want to be focusing on bringing jobs to Michigan, fixing the economy, doing things that help Michigan, or if they really want to be focused on divisive issues that actually take health insurance coverage away from women and families in Michigan,” said Meghan Groen, director of government relations for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.
State lawmakers have 40 days to approve the measure. If they don’t pass it, it will go to Michigan voters on the 2014 ballot.