Groups already considering challenge to Michigan’s new abortion insurance rider

Dec 12, 2013

Wednesday's vote by the Legislature to enact a law to require people to buy separate health policies to cover abortions may not be the final word on the question.

There are meetings underway to organize a referendum challenge. Abortion rights advocates are putting together a coalition to launch a petition drive. They want to challenge the new law with a referendum on the ballot next November.

Shelli Weisberg is with the American Civil Liberties Union. She says the coalition is a diverse group. 

“It’s workers, it’s nurses, it’s retirees who are just really sick of the overreach of this legislature into our personal and private lives, and people are really tired of it, and so we’ve got a lot of momentum to move forward and send a message that we want them to stop doing this kind of stuff,” Weisberg said.

Supporters of the law say they’re ready for a ballot campaign to defend it.  

Republican state Senator Mark Jansen voted for the law.

“If it’s a referendum, we’d have to go through the whole political debate of ‘do you agree or not agree?’ And I think, ultimately, the state of Michigan would say, they’re going to agree with what we’ve just done,” Jansen said.

A referendum campaign would have until late March to gather more than 160,000 signatures of registered voters. If it succeeds, the law would be suspended until after the election 11 months from now.