Heated Debate Underway in Michigan

Debate has begun in Michigan, where anti-choice leaders are pushing new legislation to deny women basic healthcare coverage.  A recent petition, if successful, will prohibit any entity, public or private, from offering its employees health insurance that covers abortion services.  Instead, all women will be forced to purchase such coverage through a separate rider, essentially requiring them to predict unplanned pregnancies and other circumstances ahead of time. 

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder already vetoed similar legislation last year, explaining that he did not support the government intrusion.  Anti-choice groups, however, began a petition that now sits before the Michigan legislature.  Lawmakers have 40 days to act on the legislation, and if no action is taken, the issue will be placed on the 2014 ballot for Michigan voters to decide.

Apart from the blatant intrusion into private healthcare, the petition has garnered enormous criticism for not providing coverage exceptions in cases of rape or incest.  Anti-choice leaders instead expect that women should foresee these circumstances and go out of their way to purchase separate coverage as a precaution, even though such a law imposes substantial burdens on women, infringes on individual liberties, and further punishes women who fall victim to horrific crimes.  Michigan Right to Life President Barbara Listing went so far as to compare rape and incest to a car accident, claiming that it is perfectly reasonable for citizens to purchase insurance for both or be forced to shoulder the full cost.  This view starkly contradicts the beliefs held by the majority of Americans. Anti-choice activists have taken to using all sorts of methods to restrict women’s access to reproductive healthcare even in emergency situations, and the Michigan petition is a sad addition to the list of costly intrusions into personal healthcare decisions and basic liberties. 

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