Everyone knows that the anti-choice crowd will resort to anything in their anti-women crusade to impose their own ‘morality’ on others. In Michigan they have found a new way to deny women the right to a safe and legal abortion — they want them to buy what amounts to rape insurance.
With a sympathetic Republican controlled legislature, they have attempted to get anti-choice legislation passed but are stymied by Governor Rick Snyder, who is also a Republican but more of a moderate, favoring exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother.
However, Michigan Right to Life have gathered sufficient signatures on a petition for an initiative which would require that women who want abortions covered by their health insurance buy a rider for that purpose. This would apply to all health insurance policies in the state.
They have collected 315,477 signatures and the Secretary of State has certified 299,941 as valid — 258,088 were needed to move the initiative forward.
The Board of Canvassers will meet on Monday, December 2 to certify the signatures after which the measure will move on to the legislature which has 40 days to act on it. They will have the option to approve, reject or do nothing. The initiative obviously has strong support among lawmakers since the majority of them signed the petition themselves.
Democrats in the legislature have vowed to fight the proposal. Robert McCann, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing said, “Obviously the Republicans have a choice to make; they can either continue their war on women or let the voters decide. Frankly, it’s offensive that it’s something to be brought before the Legislature — requiring women to have rape insurance.”
As a legislative ballot initiative, Governor Snyder can neither sign it or veto it though he has in the past vetoed legislation which limits the right of a rape victim to obtain an abortion. Last year the legislature passed a bill which would have required these riders but the Governor vetoed it. This time he will not have that opportunity.
If the legislature does not act on the proposal or rejects it, the next step would be a vote in the 2014 election in the form of a ballot initiative. With the majority of the legislature having signed the petition, it would seem that they are looking for a way around the Governor’s office and subverting the will of the people. It seems unlikely that they would allow it to go to the people in November when public sentiment is against the measure.
Since the legislature is scheduled to go into recess on December 12 and not return until Snyder delivers his State of the State Address in mid-January, and because the 40-day window only applies to days that the legislature is in session it will probably be the end of January before any action is taken.
This tactic has been used four times in the past, three of those occasions were to limit accessibility to abortions, including one to prevent the use of state tax funds for “welfare abortions” unless the life of the mother was threatened. Another required parental approval for a minor to obtain an abortion and one to define legal person-hood. The only non abortion related initiative was to repeal the single business tax in 2006.