Back at the end of May, NRL News Today carried a story about an important new opportunity in Michigan—the “NO Taxes for Abortion Insurance” citizen initiative intended to keep tax dollars and insurance premiums from paying for abortions as a part of health care.
Michigan’s Constitution allows the people to initiate legislation through a petition. To qualify, RTL of Michigan, the state affiliate of NRLC, needed to collect 258,088 signatures.
RTL of Michigan President Barbara Listing told volunteers during a teleconference Tuesday both that they had reached that goal but also to keep collecting signatures so that they “have a large cushion of extra signatures.” The petition drive ends September 30.
Once petitions are approved by the Board of Canvassers and submitted to the legislature, the legislature has 40 calendar days to say yes or no. If a simple majority in both the House and Senate approves the bill, it becomes law without the governor’s signature. The law would become effective 90 days after the end of the legislative session. If the legislature votes “no” or fails to vote, the issue will be placed before the people as a ballot question in 2014.
The advantage of this approach is that the bill’s language cannot be changed by the Michigan Legislature nor can it be vetoed by the governor. Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a similar bill last year.
The federal health care reform law (the Affordable Care Act—“ObamaCare&rdquo requires insurance exchanges be available in all 50 states by 2014. The ACA contains a special provision allowing the states to exclude abortion as a covered benefit in the health plans operating under the exchange. This is known as “abortion opt-out.”
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Numerous state legislatures have already passed this type of “abortion opt-out” provision. In addition, a number of states have removed abortion from all private insurance plans
The legislation would exclude abortion coverage from all health plans in the state of Michigan, whether in the exchange or not, allowing abortion coverage to be added only by an optional rider
The legislation would exclude abortion coverage from all health plans in the state of Michigan, whether in the exchange or not, allowing abortion coverage to be added only by an optional rider.
“Accomplishing this, reaching that first plateau by using only volunteer circulators really speaks volumes about our pro-life people throughout the state,” Listing said. “Their willingness to do this work, to say abortion is not health care, sends a strong message across Michigan, especially to our state and federal lawmakers.”
Reprinted with permission from NRLC