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.]