Michigan: Tell Your Lawmakers to Let Voters Decide on Abortion Initiative

December 5, 2013

The Michigan Legislature could soon vote on a dangerous petition initiative that would prohibit all health insurance companies from including abortion coverage in their policies — even in cases of rape, incest, the mother’s health, and fetal issues.

Under the proposed law, if a woman wants insurance to cover abortion, she will have to purchase a separate “rider.”

The measure was proposed as a petition initiative and would immediately become law if passed by the Legislature, which overwhelmingly supports it; Gov. Rick Snyder does not have veto power.

However, the Legislature could choose to not take it up. After 40 session days, it would then become a statewide ballot initiative, up for a public vote in November 2014.

If the Legislature approves this measure, the reproductive choices of five million women throughout the state would be subordinated to the views of the three percent of Michigan residents who signed the petition, plus a couple dozen lawmakers. 

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) believes women should have full access to reproductive health care, and the ability to make decisions with their doctor without religious intrusion. We all benefit when individuals have the ability to make choices without being told by religious members of society that their rules trump other individuals' freedoms.

But this is not simply a religious issue. It is also a health and science issue: access to abortion prevents health calamities and lowers the unintended pregnancy rate. Indeed, the Michigan Section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has said that it opposes "any legislation that seeks to restrict access to the legitimate medical services necessary to preserve and protect the reproductive health and well being of the women of Michigan."

Michigan voters understand all of this. Polls show that only 36 percent of Michigan voters support the provision. Indeed, Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a similar legislative effort last year and also opposes this initiative: "I don't believe it is appropriate to tell a woman who becomes pregnant due to a rape that she needed to select elective insurance coverage,” he said.

Unfortunately, Snyder cannot veto this effort. That’s where you come in.

We urge you to contact your elected officials now and tell them to not take up this initiative, and to put the initiative before the public, which overwhelmingly rejects it.  

Michigan lawmakers need to know that restricting women’s rights, and taking insurance coverage away from victims of rape and incest and women who face health risks, is out-of-step with the values of their constituents. Tell your elected officials to stop this attack on access to reproductive health care and focus on important issues such as education, the economy, and jobs.


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