Michigan anti-choice activists to end-run Snyder’s veto, initiate petition drive to force insurers to drop abortion coverage

Last December, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a bill that would have made it illegal for insurance companies to include abortion procedures as part of their standard coverage, even in cases of rape, incest, or where the mother’s life is in jeopardy. Undaunted by Snyder’s action, anti-choice activists kept at it, though, and yesterday they got the go-ahead from the Board of State Canvassers to begin a petition drive that – assuming they get the necessary number of signatures – would bypass either a gubernatorial veto, or a statewide ballot. The following comes from the Detroit Free Press.

…Because the federal Affordable Care Act eventually will require everyone to have health insurance, Right to Life of Michigan will embark on a petition drive to make sure that public and private health insurers offer only optional riders for abortion, instead of including the coverage in health plans.

If petition circulators get at least 258,088 valid signatures and the Legislature approves the issue, it will become law without a signature from the governor or a public vote. Seven other states also have the ability to create law by “indirect initiative,” according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

The state Board of Canvassers approved the petition form Wednesday, and organizers can begin collecting signatures as soon as petitions are printed and circulators are trained, said Barbara Listing, president of Right to Life of Michigan…

Although ultimately unsuccessful, there was a protest on the part of pro-choice advocates at the Board of State Canvassers meeting. The above photo shows some of the more than 50 representatives from Planned Parenthood who turned out in response to the Right to Life of Michigan initiative. “This is something where we really have a small number of people in the legislature trying to determine what the private marketplace can offer,” said Meghan Groen, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Michigan, pointing out the hypocrisy of the free-market-loving conservatives.

As long as we’re on the subject of abortion, I should add that I’m not without sympathy for those folks who identify as “pro-life”… at least in theory. Having known several people over the course of my life who have chosen to terminate pregnancies, I know that it’s not a decision that most people make easily. It’s both physically and emotionally painful. And that’s why I believe that it’s so important that we advocate for sex education and contraception. I don’t often find myself siding with Bill Clinton, but, if I had to succinctly define my position, I’d likely use his phrase: “safe, legal and rare”. I think abortion should be readily available for all those who need it, regardless of circumstances, but I feel as though we should do everything in our power, as a community, to ensure that as few people as possible be put in a position where they need to make that difficult decision… That means engaging with young people openly about sex, making birth control readily available, and, perhaps most importantly, raising strong daughters that are less likely to be coerced into engaging in risky behavior. And, as I said before, we need to make sure that abortion services remain easy to access for all who need it… not just those who are victims of rape and incest.

Earlier, when I said that I’m not without sympathy for those folks who identify as pro-life, I added the caveat “at least in theory”. And it’s a big caveat. As much as I’d like to side with folks who claim to “speak for the unborn,” it’s been my experience that those who profess to care about “life” are, more often than not, a hypocritical lot. If they also protested against capital punishment, and campaigned voiciferously against the war, I could maybe drive by them as they stand yelling outside of Planned Parenthood and not mumble “assholes” under my breath. As it is, though, it’s hard for me to see it any other way.

As I see it, they don’t care about the lives of the unborn at all. If they did, they’d be fighting to fund sex education programs, which have been shown to dramatically decrease the number of unwanted pregnancies, and they’d be handing out condoms as they march, instead of waving around their bloody, 30-year old abortion-porn posters which depict proceedumers that aren’t even done anymore. The sad trouth is, though, they don’t give a damn about the teen girls they’re berating, or the children that will be born into less than nurturing environments. They just want earn points in the eyes of a vengeful God, hoping that, by screaming “baby killer” at 16 year old victims of date rape, they’ll be able to offest the fact that they don’t give all of their money to the poor, as Jesus instructed them to do, and continue to covet their neighbors’ wives, cut their beards, eat shellfish, any number of other things clearly prohibited in the Bible, and, as a result, somehow finagle their way into heaven. And, as long as we’re talking about about hypocrisy… there’s absolutely no way on earth, no matter how hard you might try to convince me, that I’d ever believe that Rick Santorum, or any of the other politicians who court the pro-life demographic, that, if their young daughter was raped, that they’d encourage her to have the child and see it as a “blessing from God.” But don’t you worry… abortion will always be an option for the rich. They may outlaw abortion in the US, but absolutely nothing would change for those with resources. So, this isn’t about ending abortion. This is about ending abortion for the poor and irresponsible. If a rich, white young woman gets pregnant, it’s an unfortunate mistake. If a poor, black young women gets pregnant, it’s proof that she’s irresponsible, and she should be made to pay for her lasciviousness.

[note: Governor Snyder may have vetoed this legislation in its last iteration, but that doesn’t mean he’s a friend of women when it comes to reproductive rights. As you may recall, he signed a comprehensive anti-abortion omnibus bill in December.]

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  1. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted May 23, 2013 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    And it just keeps getting better. Now, Detroit EFM Kevin Orr, you know, the guy who has a job the people of Michigan voted out of existence, says he may need to sell the art collection of the DIA to pay the city’s debts. This is exactly the reason the people of Michigan voted to end the EFM law. This is sick, and I hope Snyder and his cronies are finally seen for the tyrants they are.


  2. EOS
    Posted May 24, 2013 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Obamacare, many insurers will choose to drop coverage of a multitude of medical procedures regardless of any “end-run” petitions.


    Those hypocrites and “assholes” that stand outside Planned Parenthood are there to offer resources and options to any woman who may erroneously believe that she has no other choice. They refer women to places where they can obtain social services, free medical care, counseling, parenting classes, food and housing. If a woman chooses to keep her baby, they can provide cribs, diapers, formula, baby clothes, car seats, and bottles. They can advise women how to get WIC and other forms of assistance. They can advise young women how to obtain free childcare while they obtain their high school diplomas. Prospective adoptive parents will often provide full financial support for the mothers.

    There are many groups who will support the choice not to kill your baby:

    Family Life Services Pregnancy Center
    Packard Rd, Ypsi 734-434-3088

    Right to Life Michigan
    Frank Lloyd Wright Dr.

    Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County
    Packard Rd, Ann Arbor 734-971-4781

    Aborvitae Women’s Center
    Liberty St., Ann Arbor 734-994-8863

    Bethany Christian Services

    What they won’t do is berate a young woman who finds herself in a difficult situation. They won’t condemn her or shun her, but will offer her love and encouragement and plenty of options.

  3. Bob Krzewinski
    Posted May 24, 2013 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    As the saying goes, if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrement.

  4. Edward
    Posted May 24, 2013 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    I would have thought that Roe v. Wade decided this a long time ago. I guess we’re just lucky that the Republicans don’t want to bring slavery back. If they did, they’d find a way to do it.

  5. EOS
    Posted May 24, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink


    The Republicans were the party that ended slavery. Get your facts straight.

  6. Meta
    Posted May 24, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Huffington Post headline: “Barbara Listing, Anti-Abortion Leader, Compares Rape And Incest To Car Accidents, Floods”

    The head of a pro-life group in Michigan made a controversial comparison on Wednesday, arguing that women in the state should be forced to pay extra for health insurance that covers abortions, even in cases of rape or incest.

    “It’s simply, like, nobody plans to have an accident in a car accident, nobody plans to have their homes flooded. You have to buy extra insurance for those,” Barbara Listing, president of Right to Life of Michigan, told reporters on Wednesday when asked about the exceptions.

    Listing’s group is leading a ballot committee, No Taxes for Abortion, that is seeking to require health insurance companies to extend coverage of elective abortion procedures, including after incidents of incest or rape, via optional riders, rather than as a part of standard coverage plans.

    The campaign was approved by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers on Wednesday. If supporters are able to collect 258,088 valid voter signatures, the proposal would go before the legislature or appear as a ballot initiative in 2014, allowing it to become law without Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) signature. Snyder vetoed a similar proposal passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature last year.

    Read more:

  7. Aruna
    Posted May 24, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    I have to wonder in the grand scheme of things, would it be possible that this backfires and the abortion rider ends up becoming an abortion rebate? Given the cost of taking an unplanned pregnancy to term could offering abortion coverage be more profitable than not for an insurance company?

    I suppose this gets into the idea of whether this is a procedure that people will pay out of pocket for, but even if that happens it’s going to be more expensive than insurer covered. When people can’t pay for their procedures, the cost is passed on to the general public. Whether or not this measure actually succeeds in lowering abortions, it makes healthcare coverage more expensive for everyone.

  8. Knox
    Posted May 24, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you on everything but your comment about Santorum not allowing his daughter to have a rapist’schild. I think he’d insist that she have it, and I think he’d tour with it for the rest of his career, introducing the kid as his daughter’s “rape baby”. He’d probably even try to get a reality TV series out of it.

  9. John Galt
    Posted May 24, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    There’ nothing more “free market” than raping a woman and making her carry your child. Thank you, Michigan.

  10. Kim
    Posted May 24, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    We need a free, no questions asked, abortion van. If I make a petition, will you sign it?

  11. Elviscostello
    Posted May 24, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    Yes, those long dead Republicans should be proud. However, since Barry Goldwater and the “southern strategy”, the GOP has done as much as possible to deny voting rights, close voting booths in minority precincts and in general pushed every avenue to create a minority underclass. What I don’t understand is where the upper class think they will be able to hide when the head chopping begins.

  12. jcp2
    Posted May 25, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Silly Elvis, that’s what the Second Amendment is for.

  13. EOS
    Posted May 25, 2013 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    The GOP has tried, without success, to limit voting to only American citizens. On the other hand, Democrats do all they can to encourage illegal aliens to come here and then provide as many free benefits for them as possible in the hopes of creating a permanent voting block. But see how well that’s working for Sweden these days.

  14. Posted May 25, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Come on! (say that in the GOB voice to celebrate upcoming new episodes of Arrested Development) That Republican party was completely different than the one today. In fact, I was just working on Social Studies with a kiddo and that comment was even in the SocStud textbook….

    I am, however, surprised that they haven’t sought to undo Brown v. the Board of Education. OTOH, schools are so segregated anyway that they probably don’t have to :(

  15. Ben
    Posted May 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    “I feel as though we should do everything in our power, as a community, to ensure that as few people as possible be put in a position where they need to make that difficult decision… That means engaging with young people openly about sex, making birth control readily available, and, perhaps most importantly, raising strong daughters that are less likely to be coerced into engaging in risky behavior.”

    Good points, Mark. I’d add, “teaching men not to rape and about consent from a very young age.”

  16. Elviscostello
    Posted May 25, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    EOS, do you know of any illegal voters? What is the percentage and impact of illegal voters? I can sure get you facts about the 2000 and 2004 elections and GOP efforts to limit minority voting. It doesn’t have to be “successful” to be wrong.

  17. EOS
    Posted May 26, 2013 at 5:06 am | Permalink




    I needed to show my drivers license to buy a cell phone, to get a library card, to rent a movie, to buy cigarettes or alcohol, sometimes to use my credit card because it isn’t signed, and even at my dentist’s office. But if a state wants to check IDs before voting, it must fight the Obama DOJ up to the Supreme Court because Democrats claim it limits the rights of minorities and the poor.

    The number of illegal aliens voting in the most recent Presidential election could easily have exceeded the margin of victory in a number of states. Can we prove it? Only when Obama administration officials share current INS data with election officials. Why does he refuse?

  18. Posted May 26, 2013 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    “Whether or not this measure actually succeeds in lowering abortions, it makes healthcare coverage more expensive for everyone.”

    Absolutely, Aruna. I can’t remember the state, but I seem to recall that one of the fifty was rethinking abortion legislation after being hit by a huge increase in newborns that were demanding of social services…. demonstrating just how hypocritical they are.

    They’re all about “life” until the check comes.

  19. Posted May 26, 2013 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    OK, I fond a reference. It’s Texas. Here’s a clip from the New York Times.

    When state lawmakers passed a two-year budget in 2011 that moved $73 million from family planning services to other programs, the goal was largely political: halt the flow of taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood clinics.

    The latest Health and Human Services Commission projections being circulated among Texas lawmakers indicate that during the 2014-15 biennium, poor women will deliver an estimated 23,760 more babies than they would have, as a result of their reduced access to state-subsidized birth control. The additional cost to taxpayers is expected to be as much as $273 million — $103 million to $108 million to the state’s general revenue budget alone — and the bulk of it is the cost of caring for those infants under Medicaid.

    Ahead of the next legislative session, during which lawmakers will grapple with an existing Medicaid financing shortfall, a bipartisan coalition is considering ways to restore some or all of those family planning dollars, as a cost-saving initiative if nothing else.

    “I know some of my colleagues felt like in retrospect they did not fully grasp the implications of what was done last session,” said Representative Donna Howard, Democrat of Austin, who said she had been discussing ways to restore financing with several other lawmakers in both parties.

    She added, “I think there is some effort they’ll be willing to make to restore whatever we can”…

  20. Idea
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    We have bicycle ice cream delivery so why not an abortioncycle?

  21. Posted May 30, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    EOS, you have no idea what goes on in those fake pregnancy clinics run by the anti-abortion crowd. Since my partner did some actual research on it, I do. She borrowed pregnant urine from a number of sympathetic women and then sent young female activists into those “clinics” you cite. The staff there made these young activists wait 45 minutes to an hour “while the test results were completed,” (a test which actually takes less than 5 minutes) and throughout that time pressured and harangued the young women not to terminate their pregnancies. Except, if the young activist was black. I’ll have to ask Beth to refresh my memory because it was so sordid, I’ve kind of blocked out the details… However, white girls were especially pressured against abortion and held captive, while black girls were not. Ugh. If you see the words “Free Pregnancy Tests,” it’s a fake clinic.
    Don’t go there and don’t let someone you love go there. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, as a wise man once said.

  22. Posted May 30, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Lisele, if your partner would like to talk, I’d love to interview her for the site. Have her contact me, OK? I wasn’t aware of the project. It sounds fascinating.

  23. EOS
    Posted May 30, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Any pregnant woman who contacts any of the places I listed will receive help and encouragement to save their baby’s life. Unlike Planned Parenthood – an organization that was established on eugenic principles and continues to target black women.

  24. EOS
    Posted May 30, 2013 at 7:46 pm | Permalink


  25. Oliva
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    EOS, why not go examine Planned Parenthood offices for yourself? Not at all how you depict them. For annual checkups, more excellent care than overpriced, over-busy clinics such as around Briarwood Circle. Real investment of good, sound health care by the doctors, nurses, and staff. Excellent work on behalf of so many American women and their families. (Misrepresentations are part of a dismal partisan game that is holding the country back, setting us back.)

  26. EOS
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    75% of the minority women who are referred to Planned Parenthood in the Washtenaw County Healthy Babies Initiative for prenatal care receive abortions. And PP claims that it is a benefit to our county because it eliminates the possibility of low birth weight babies.

    Ignorance of the truth and vigorous defense of false premises is a bigger problem holding us back.

  27. Oliva
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    EOS, that is a bogus statistic and bogus assertion re. Planned Parenthood’s claim. Frustrating.

  28. EOS
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    No. It’s based on PP’s own reports given to Wash. County Board at their annual request for taxpayer funding. Public documents freely available on the web – also meetings are video taped for non-readers. They consistently document, year after year, less than 25% of pregnant women in their program actually deliver babies – healthy or otherwise.

  29. wobblie
    Posted June 1, 2013 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    if they are on the web available to anyone, why have you not posted the link?

  30. jj
    Posted June 5, 2013 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    New Study Confirms Obamacare’s Birth Control Mandate Will Reduce Abortion Rate


  31. anonymous
    Posted June 6, 2013 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    It’s not about “saving babies”. It’s about controlling women and their sexuality.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] with that, the far right initiated a petition drive to get around Snyder’s veto. And it was successful. The Michigan Right to Life petition was […]

  2. By Has anyone gotten a rape insurance quote yet? on March 12, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    […] with that, the far right initiated a petition drive to get around Snyder’s veto. And it was successful. The Michigan Right to Life petition was […]

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