Michigan Senate Votes to Expand “Conscience Clause” Protections, Abortion Insurance Riders

The senate makes restricting reproductive rights a daylong event.


Michigan Senate. Photo: Safeaccessnow.org.

The sort of medical treatment you are allowed access may soon be dependent on who your doctor, your pharmacist, even your employer is, thanks in part to a busy Michigan senate eager to take away women’s rights.

The senate started their day long assault on women’s reproductive health by debating a bill that would expand situations in which conscience clause refusals could be applied, extending the right to deny services that may be “morally objectionable” to not just doctors and medical practitioners but also to employers who provide insurance coverage that might pay for medical expenses. The law was taken up in order to expand the previous conscience objections for those providing abortions to be applied in any situation, including insurance coverage of birth control. Much like the failed national Blunt Amendment, who a woman works for may be the deciding factor on whether or not her insurance covers birth control.

Should she become pregnant, obtaining an abortion would be even more expensive, too. The senate voted to ban abortion coverage not just in the state exchange that would be set up a part of the Affordable Care Act, but in private insurance as well. For any woman who wanted coverage just in case she had an unplanned pregnancy or a pregnancy with complications, she would need to purchase a rider at additional cost. Or, as one Republican in favor of the bill testified, “pony up” for it.

Democrats strenuously opposed both bills as nothing more than Republican revenge over the results of the 2012 election. “Get the government from underneath women’s clothes. This bill is disgusting. It has no business in political discourse,” State Sen. Coleman Young II said about the rider bill, according to the Detroit Free Press. “We’ve already had this conversation. Obama won, Romney lost, get over it.”

Will the GOP “get over it” anytime soon? Not likely — the massive omnibus “super bill” of abortion restrictions is still waiting to be debated and voted on soon.