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Thursday, April 17, 2014

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Pro-life group sends petition on abortion insurance to legislature

A petition that would require women to purchase health insurance for abortions could soon head to the state legislature.

Legislators have 40 days to act on the petition, which potentially could amend available coverage through the Affordable Care Act in Michigan, which would require women to pay an optional rider ahead of time for abortion coverage, including instances of rape, incest and unwanted pregnancies.

Pro-life organization Right to Life of Michigan garnered nearly 300,000 valid signatures for the petition. The petition was approved by Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers on Monday.

Because the initiative is a petition signed by residents, it would not need approval from Gov. Rick Snyder to become a law if it earns a majority vote on the measure in the House and Senate.

Genevieve Marnon, the organization’s public affairs associate, said the group’s primary frustration with abortion coverage comes not just from the abortions themselves, but who will pay for them.

“People in Michigan don’t necessarily feel that it’s appropriate to pay for abortions with their tax dollars,” Marnon said.

Marie Rose, the president of MSU’s Students for Choice, said the initiative could make it difficult for women, especially students, to afford an abortion.

“The bill in itself really just limits coverage for abortion, including cases of rape, incest or saving the life of the mother,” Rose said. “Nobody plans for an unplanned pregnancy. It’s really sad that we have to fight this battle.”

Lisa Jankowski, the recruitment chair for MSU College Republicans president of MSU Students for Life, said it’s worth it to protect the right to opt out.

“Insurance premiums will go up for college students,” Jankowski said. “It’s going to affect us the most because chances are college students do want the extra rider in their health care plan. … It’s our constitutional right to be able to opt out of something like this.”

Robert McCann, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, said the initiative could bring uncomfortable conversations into family life.

“It’s not just about planning for unplanned pregnancy,” McCann said. “Parents may have to sit and make a decision to get rape insurance for their daughter. The idea that they should be forced to have that conversation is just mind-boggling.”

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