Michigan Republicans ban abortions from health insurance plans

LansingBasic health insurance in Michigan will no longer include abortion coverage – even in cases of rape or incest.

The Michigan House and Senate today both passed the bill, which is one of the most restrictive in the nation.

The law goes into effect in mid-March and cannot be vetoed by Gov. Rick Snyder because it was initiated by a voter-approved petition drive.

Under the new law, women must pay for additional insurance coverage for abortions. In other words, women must decide whether they want additional coverage before they become pregnant.

The votes were primarily along party lines, with a few Democrats voting in favor of the bill.

The debate was emotional as opponents of the measure spoke out about their own rapes. Saying she was sexually assaulted about 20 years ago, Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, called the measure an offensive overreach that turns back the clock on Michigan’s progress.

“This is the height of hubris and paternalism that a room full of men have decided they are fit to dictate the terms of Michigan women’s health care, that they can make this decision recklessly without giving a moment’s consideration to the various personal circumstances we women face, and it is an appalling example of political pandering that the Michigan Legislature is bending to the whims of a single high-powered and extreme special interest,” Whitmer said.

The bill passed 27-11 in the Senate and 62-47 in the House.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.