A legislative ballot initiative to ban abortion coverage in health insurance plans and require women to buy what opponents call “rape insurance” was approved by Michigan’s Secretary of State this week and is expected by many to become law because it cannot be vetoed by Gov. Rick Snyder (R).
On Monday, the Michigan Secretary of State certified that the group Michigan Right to Life had enough signature for the legislature to take up the measure. The group turned in 315,477 signatures, but only 258,088 — or 3 percent of the state’s voters — were needed. Snyder vetoed a similar bill last year, but Michigan’s constitution does not give him the authority to sign or veto legislative initiatives.
The initiative would require that all health plans — not just plans under the Affordable Care Act — be stripped of any abortion coverage, even in the cases of rape or incest. Women would have to purchase a separate rider to receive abortion coverage.
Because women could not purchase the coverage after they were raped, critics have referred to the rider as “rape insurance.”
“It’s not like, oh, I was raped and so now I’ll buy this rider,” Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan Director of Government Relations Meghan Groen told RH Reality Check. “Nobody is anticipating being a victim of crime.”
Michigan Right to Life spokesperson Pam Sherstad insisted to the Detroit Free Press that the measure would pass if it was taken up by the legislature because a majority of the lawmakers had already signed the petition that was turned into the Secretary of State.
If the legislature rejects the initiative or does not take it up then it will automatically go to the 2014 ballot for voters to decide.
A recent poll by The Detroit News found that a majority of voters opposed the ban on abortion coverage.
[Stock photo of woman with her doctor via Shutterstock.com]