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Right to Life files abortion coverage petitions

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Abortion opponents have turned in more than 315,000 petition signatures calling on the Legislature to place new restrictions on health coverage.

The new law would require consumers to buy separate coverage for abortions.

Abortion opponents say they want to make sure that abortion coverage is not automatic when people buy insurance under the new federal healthcare law. The petition-initiated law would require consumers to buy a separate rider for abortion coverage.

Ed Rivet is with Right to Life. He says anti-abortion groups felt compelled to act because of the new federal healthcare law.

“The healthcare law is coming. People have to buy insurance,” says Rivet, “If we don’t pass this law, it will include abortion coverage. Pretty simple. They said, ‘OK, I’ll sign.’”

The Legislature is expected to adopt the law once the signatures are certified by a state board. Otherwise the question would go on the ballot.    Either way, the measure could not be vetoed by the governor.

Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a similar provision that was sent him last year by the Legislature, and he says he doesn’t regret it.

At the time Snyder said “because it didn’t identify in terms of rape, incest kind of issues appropriately.”

Democratic state Senator Glenn Anderson, who opposes the measure, says it would be better to let voters decide the question.

“I’m hoping they’ll stop and think about the small number of signatures,” says Anderson,  “It’s only between 3 and 4 percent of the population of this state, if this is implemented and passed by the Legislature, will basically make a decision on women’s health. I think it’ll be a big mistake.”

This is the fourth time abortion foes used the petition process to enact a law.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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