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Abortion insurance law now in effect in Michigan

By Kaitlyn Skrzypczak
On April 19, 2014

Michigan residents who purchase health insurance will not be able to have abortion procedures covered by their plans under a new law enacted last month in Michigan.

The Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act prohibits residents of the state from having abortions covered by one’s health insurance plan unless a rider, or separate add-on to an insurance plan, is purchased ahead of time. Women will have to preemptively purchase the rider before becoming pregnant through rape or incest if they want their insurance provider to reimburse them for the procedure. The only exception under this law is for abortions performed to save the life of a woman.

Rep. and former mayor of Bay City Charles Brunner , as well as Rep. Jim Stamas , of Midland, voted for the law. Rep. Stacy Erwin Oakes , who represents the City of Saginaw, voted against the law.

Calls were not returned by deadline from the offices of Rep. Brunner and Rep.

Stamas when contacted for a statement.

Rep. Oakes stated in an e-mail that she opposes the measure because “it is bad

policy that was advanced solely for political purposes.”

"This new law places the government between a woman and her doctor. The legislature should not be making these decisions, it's not our place,” stated Oakes. “We should be working to improve education, maintain our infrastructure, and attract new businesses and industries to Michigan.”

The Detroit Free Press reports that Michigan’s Republican controlled state legislature passed the act in 2012, but Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed it. Snyder stated it wasn’t “appropriate to tell a woman who becomes pregnant due to rape that she needed to select elective insurance coverage.”

After the measure was vetoed, the organization Right to Life Michigan gathered 300,000 petition signatures supporting the act, which made use of Michigan’s citizens initiative process. Both house then passed the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act in December 2013, and because there is no veto in the citizens initiative process the law did not require Snyder’s signature to go into effect.

According to guttmacher.org, there are several restrictions on abortion that have

taken effect in Michigan as of January 1, 2014:

• A woman must receive state-directed counseling that includes information12

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