Half of Michigan Residents Oppose Abortion Rider Effort


An effort spearheaded by Right to Life of Michigan would require everyone in the state who wants insurance coverage of abortion care to purchase a separate rider—and it is proving unpopular with many state residents. New polling shows that roughly half of Michiganders disapprove of the idea of abortion riders.

The anti-choice group’s effort would circumvent the usual legislative procedure, instead requiring 260,000 petition signatures and a simple majority approval in the state legislature. The move may make it easier to get the anti-choice restriction signed into law without having to worry about a veto. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has already said he would veto the initiative. He vetoed a similar effort last year.

But many state residents oppose the plan, which does not include exceptions for pregnancies that result from rape or for the health of the pregnant person. Polling released last week by Lambert, Edwards & Associates, a bipartisan Michigan public relations firm, shows that just 42 percent of individuals surveyed believe abortion coverage should be paid for out-of-pocket; 50 percent oppose the initiative, and 8 percent are undecided. However, “[a]lthough half of voters polled are against limiting health insurance plans in this way, it may not matter if enough lawmakers support it,” Jeff Lambert, president and managing partner at Lambert, Edwards & Associates, noted in a statement. “This has been a successful way for Right to Life in the past to bypass a gubernatorial veto.”

“Right to Life probably knows it would have trouble passing this if the measure went on the ballot,” said Dennis Denno, CEO of Denno Research, the firm that conducted the survey. “It’s a far safer course to get favorable votes from lawmakers who agree with Right to Life’s policy and goals.”

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said while testifying in favor of the initiative in May, “Nobody plans to have an accident in a car accident, nobody plans to have their homes flooded. You have to buy extra insurance for those two.”

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