Michigan Considers Forcing Women to Purchase Separate Insurance for Abortion Coverage
Michigan lawmakers are considering legislation that would require women to purchase a separate insurance policy for abortion coverage. The proposed law would prohibit insurance plans offered in the state from covering abortion without the rider, but the proposal also does not require insurers to offer or provide the rider.
The measure would force women who don't purchase these separate policies to pay for abortion services out-of-pocket -- even women who have become pregnant because of rape or incest. Although Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R ) vetoed the same insurance ban last year, pro-choice opponents, led by Michigan Right to Life, circumvented the veto and collected enough petition signatures to send the measure back to the legislature [see PDF].
"Forcing women to decide whether they want to buy 'rape insurance' and even compelling parents to make the unfathomable decision about whether to buy it for their daughters is truly despicable," State Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D) said on Monday. "Requiring Michigan women to plan ahead for an unplanned pregnancy is not only illogical, it's one of the most misogynistic proposals I have ever seen in the Michigan Legislature."
Legislators now have 40 days to act on the ban. If lawmakers take no action, the issue will be put to a statewide vote on the 2014 ballot. If they approve the proposal, it will immediately become law, even without the governor's signature.
Media Resources: Detroit Free Press 12/2/2013; MLive 12/28/2012; Michigan.gov Ballot Proposals 12/4/2013; 11/2/2013; ThinkProgress 12/4/2013
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .