State Senate Leader: Abortion Coverage Ban Not A Priority

Oct 8, 2013

A measure to restrict abortion coverage might run into a hurdle in the state Senate. The Republican leader there says he's not yet committed to taking up the measure.

The group Right to Life of Michigan turned in more than 315,000 signatures last week to send the measure to the Legislature. It would ban insurance companies from offering standard health plans that include abortion coverage. Women would have to purchase the coverage as a separate rider.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) says he doesn't consider the proposal a top priority.

"We're busy," Richardville told reporters Tuesday. "We've got a lot of things going on. So we'll look at it. Right to Life has been an organization that I've worked closely with over the years and will continue to. So we'll have discussions."

Richardville says one concern is whether all the signatures were collected legally. Earlier this year, Right to Life was told not to circulate the petition inside the state Capitol.

"There was a little problem with the signatures and not doing it in the Capitol and all that kind of thing, too," said Richardville. "We had that debate last week in committee, and we'll have a little work group take a look at it and see whether or not we think it's legal or not."

Assuming Right to Life's signatures are certified by a state board, the state Legislature would have 40 days to approve the law. If lawmakers do not pass the measure, it would go before Michigan voters on the ballot.

The House and Senate passed a similar measure last year. But it was vetoed by Governor Rick Snyder. The current proposal could not be vetoed by the governor.