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Abortion rights advocates push lawmakers to put question on ballot

Rick Pluta
Michigan Public Radio
File photo

Abortion rights advocates were at the state Capitol to ask lawmakers to sit on petition-initiated legislation, which would send the controversial measure to the ballot.

The petition-initiated bill would require consumers who want abortion coverage to buy an additional insurance policy.

“Our folks will be out there and letting legislators know that this is a vote that they will not forget, that this is something that we will remember in the next election,” said Meghan Hodge Groen is with Planned Parenthood.

The Legislature can either adopt the measure, or allow it to go to the ballot. The House and Senate would have to vote before the winter break begins at the end of next week, or shortly after lawmakers return to the state Capitol in January.

A majority of state lawmakers fall into the “pro-life” column. A majority have also signed the petitions that put the question to the Legislature, effectively making them co-sponsors.

“I know the votes are there because we have a very strong right-to-life caucus,” said state Representative Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake). “I’m not concerned about whether the votes are there or not.”

Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a similar bill last year because it did not allow for exceptions in cases of rape or incest. But voter-initiated laws are not subject to a governor’s veto.

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