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"Abortion Rider" Now In The Hands Of Michigan's Republican-led Legislature

LANSING (WWJ) - The Board of State Canvassers has ruled that the so-called "abortion rider" proposal has enough signatures to make the 2014 ballot.

Pro-Choice legislators do not have the votes to defeat this legislation that would order women to purchase as a separate rider abortion coverage reports Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick.

"Forcing women to decide whether they want to buy `rape insurance' and even compelling parents to make the unfathomable decision about whether to buy it for their daughters is truly despicable," said Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer of East Lansing. "Requiring Michigan women to plan ahead for an unplanned pregnancy is not only illogical, it's one of the most misogynistic proposals I have ever seen in the Michigan Legislature."

Representative Sam Sing says this is bad public policy:

"What you are seeing now is the Republicans taking their personal ideologies and telling a private insurance company what to do - you don't want four percent of the people who signed signatures dictating health policy for the entire state - it's wrong."

But Right to Life contends that abortion coverage should not be subsidized by those who don't support abortions.

Genevieve Marnon, public affairs associate for Right To Life of Michigan described it like "optical or dental riders in the sense that you can choose to purchase it or not purchase it." Anyone could purchase it, including men who may want to cover a family member.

"It's been built into plans for 40 years - people who are opposed to abortion have been paying for it in their premiums and now with the intrusion of the Affordable Care Act mandating that our tax subsidies go to pay for it - people who are opposed to abortion don't want their tax dollars subsidizing abortion," Marnon said.

Meghan Groen of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan says  it's important that people know that this proposal is a reach into private market place and personal health matters:

"There are no exemptions for rape, incest or the health of the woman … if there is a situation where there is a woman who finds out that she has a severe health problem, she could be looking at losing a wanted pregnancy and then the additional thousands of dollars of hospital bills," Groen said.

The Republican-led Legislature can vote on the proposal without needing approval from Gov. Rick Snyder, who vetoed the measure this summer. If lawmakers don't vote on it — or reject it — within 40 days it goes to voters in November 2014.

And if the Right to Life plan passes, individuals and business owners would have to buy an optional rider for elective abortion coverage under all private and public insurance plans.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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