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Michigan Senate sends abortion health coverage bill to Whitmer

Democratic Senator Erika Geiss is a sponsor of legislation to repeal Michigan’s dormant 1931 abortion ban. She said it’s important to get what she calls the “zombie law” off the books.
Rick Pluta
State Senator Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) sponsored the bill to amend Michigan’s civil rights law to ban employers from discriminating against people who have had abortions.

The Michigan Senate gave its final approval Thursday to a billthat would prohibit discrimination against people who have had an abortion. The measure is part of plans to implement the abortion-rights amendment to the state constitution, passed by voters last year as Proposal 3.

The bill would add reproductive rights to Michigan’s civil rights law. For example, it would protect people who’ve had an abortion from on-the-job discrimination in hiring or promotions. The bill would also bar employer health plans that cover pregnancy care from refusing to cover abortion services.

“We don’t do that for any other medical care, and it shouldn’t be any different for people who need to seek out an abortion,” said Senator Erika Geiss (D-Taylor), the bill sponsor.

Geiss said this is part of what voters intended when they voted last year to amend the Michigan Constitution to ensure the protection of reproductive rights.

“And now we need to make sure that our laws are aligned with Prop 3 so that there isn’t conflict between our existing laws and what Prop 3 created by being added to the state constitution,” said Geiss.

Thursday’s 20-18 vote fell entirely along party lines. Republicans argued the bill is not necessary to fulfill the requirements of Proposal 3, but also that it would discriminate against churches and faith-based organizations that object to abortion.

“By forcing an employer, whether it’s your church or my farm or something, to have to support financially someone getting an abortion is incredibly offensive,” said Senator Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan).

The Senate vote comes almost exactly a month after Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a law to formally remove from the books a1931 ban on most abortions. She is expected to sign this bill, as well.

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Rick Pluta is the managing editor for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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