The Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act. This title is inherently misleading. It sounds as if you personally will be able to pay less by simply opt-out of insurance coverage for abortion. This is not the case. You will instead have to opt-in for insurance coverage for abortion services, including those in cases of rape and incest.
In order to receive coverage for abortion, women need to purchase an additional rider – indeed making women plan ahead for an unplanned pregnancy or an unplanned act of sexual violence. As noted by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan spokesperson Meghan Groen, insurance riders are mostly unavailable, and as they rely on market demand, riders for abortion would be more limited than others. “Nobody anticipates having an unwanted pregnancy,” stated Groen.
Significantly, federal funds are already prevented from being used for abortion, except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk. Right to Life’s argument that taxpayer dollars should not go toward abortion funds is not an entirely truthful argument. Taxpayer dollars do not go toward abortion services now, and this act would not prevent that from happening in the future.
Legislation similar to this act has been sent through the legislature before in various forms, and has never been voted into law, based on the undue burden it places onto women. Now, if the petition receives enough signatures, it can be passed into law by the legislature without the governor’s signature or public vote. If it is rejected, as it has been in the past, it would wind up on the November 2014 ballot.
The inherently misleading language makes this petition and the act dangerous to the rights of women. While the act does not entirely prohibit abortion coverage by insurance providers, it does prohibit insurance providers from covering abortion services without the additional rider in place. However, the act does not require that an insurance provider offer the optional rider. Women who are covered by a company that does not offer this rider could lose this option altogether, limiting their access to abortion services.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan encourages you to Decline to Sign if you see the petition for this act being circulated. The text at the top of the petition reads:
"An initiation of Legislation to enact the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act. The initiated law would require the purchase of coverage for elective abortion in a health care plan to be by an optional rider only; require notice to employees for whom elective abortion coverage is purchased by their employer; and provide penalties for violations of this act. If not enacted by the Michigan State Legislature in accordance with the Michigan Constitution of 1963, the proposed legislation is to be voted on at the General Election, November 4, 2014."
Educate your friends, family, and coworkers. Together we can protect the rights and health of Michigan women.
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