State Legislature Approves Controversial Abortion Insurance Bill

Posted at 6:54 PM, Dec 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-11 19:00:23-05

Michigan_state_capitolLANSING, Mich. — Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature Wednesday approved a controversial bill preventing women from using insurance to pay for an abortion unless they purchase coverage separately.

The law, backed by Right to Life of Michigan, will take effect in March.  It does not require the governor’s signature and will not appear on a state ballot.

Opponents blasted the bill during Wednesday’s debate, labeling it “rape insurance” because it doesn’t include exceptions for abortion coverage except in cases of imminent death of the mother.

According to MLive, Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, teared up as she told her colleagues that she was raped 20 years ago, thanking God that she was not impregnated during the assault.

“The Republican male majority continues to ignorantly and unnecessarily weigh in on important women’s health issues that they know nothing about,” said Whitmer’s quote in MLive. “As a legislator, a lawyer and a mother of two girls, I think the fact that rape insurance is even being discussed by this body is repulsive.”

The Senate approved the bill in a 27-11 vote just before 5 p.m.  Less than a half an hour later the House approved it with a 62-47 vote.

Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a similar bill last year.  Right to Life of Michigan brought it back using the state’s rare citizen’s initiative process, which bypasses a governor’s signature.

Had lawmakers not voted on the bill within 40 days, it would have gone to a statewide vote on the 2014 ballot.

Right to Life promoted the legislation as a way to ensure that taxpayer-subsidized plans in the Affordable Care Act were not being used to pay for abortions.

More than 300,000 people signed Right to Life’s petition.  Opponents estimate that that is between 3 and 4 percent of registered voters.