In October, Michigan politicians, backed by Right to Life of Michigan, invoked a rarely-used, veto-proof maneuver to try to pass a complete ban on insurance coverage of abortion — a policy opposed by doctors, women and vetoed by two previous Republican governors. Not only would coverage for abortion only be available through an unworkable “rider” system (it unrealistically presumes that women would purchase abortion coverage separately) — it would have no exemptions for survivors of rape or incest.
After the state legislature used the lame duck session last December to shove through wildly unpopular restrictions on women's health care, once again, politicians are using whatever means possible to push through their extreme and dangerous agenda — in spite of the fact that a majority of Michigan voters don’t support this ban.
It’s important to note that Michigan politicians have invoked this rarely-used legislative maneuver only five times in their legislative history — and three of those times, including this one, it has been used to restrict women's access to health care. Circumventing the normal rules and process is nothing new; anti-women’s health politicians have used these types of tactics in North Carolina when abortion restrictions were attached to a bill about motorcycle safety, and in Texas, when Governor Rick Perry called for not one, but two special sessions to pass a bill designed to restrict women’s health and rights.
The proposal is being deliberated in the Michigan legislature today, and they have 40 days to approve, deny, or send the question to the voters to decide on the November 2014 ballot.
The decision to take health care away from Michigan women should not be made by politicians, the voters should decide what coverage is best for them and their families — and legislators should know that taking insurance coverage away from victims of rape and incest and women who face health risks is out-of-step with their constituents and unpopular. The Detroit Free Press is one of three local editorial boards to come out against this extreme measure, stating, “We believe that this measure isn’t fair, that it is cruel and intrusive.” Decisions about pregnancy are deeply personal and Michigan voters do not want to see legislators interfere in the private decisions best left up to a woman and her doctors, in consultation with her faith and her family. Nearly two out of three voters do not want to see this extreme measure become law.
Let the Michigan voters decide!