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      315,000 Michigan voters say no to abortion coverage

      It??s called the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act.

      ??The Michigan voters have the ability to initiate legislation,?? said Iron County Right to Life president, Christina Velie. ??This act is going to ensure that the people have a voice in saying who is going to pay for abortions.??

      The issue prompted over 315,000 people to sign a petition that would prohibit insurance companies from covering abortions unless the woman wanted to purchase a separate rider. Christina explained how the act would give more freedom of choice to the woman seeking that coverage.

      ??It??s important to recognize that the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act does not say anything about the legality of abortion; it just addresses the issue of who is going to pay for the abortions,?? Velie said. "Right to Life of Michigan wants to ensure that all life is dignified, from conception until natural death, that even the most vulnerable will be protected." She mentioned they would even go so far as to say they're Pro-Choice, not in the sense of the legality of abortion, but by giving women the choice to buy an extra rider.

      This isn't the first time the issue has been in front of lawmakers; in December of 2012, Governor Snyder vetoed the bill because it didn't have exceptions in cases of rape. The next step in the petition process is for the Board of Canvassers to approve the signatures. If approved, the signatures are sent as a proposal to lawmakers who then have 40 calendar days to approve or reject the proposal. As part of Michigan??s Constitution, the people have the power to initiate legislation without the signature approval from Governor Snyder. If lawmakers do not approve the proposal, voters still have another chance to pass it when they see it on the November 2014 ballot. In regards to the petition signatures, Christina said that there were more than enough needed.

      ??We needed to have 258,000 signatures of registered voters to make it legal, and we were able to collect 315,000, even after weeding out 20,000 signatures that just didn??t meet the standards,?? Velie said.

      But others, such as those in Planned Parenthood of Michigan, are not so impressed, as they would consider abortion coverage to be a part of complete health care coverage.

      ??Quite frankly, to have a petition from three percent of Michigan voters when the latest poll was that 36 percent supported this,?? said Meghan Groen, Director of Government Relations of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, ??for that to happen and it not to go to a vote of the people, and for the governor to have absolutely no say in it, we think is just a terrible move in terms of public policy and not the right way for Michigan to move forward," Groen said. "When you're purchasing insurance, you're anticipating full and comprehensive coverage. Nobody anticipates ever having any sort of abortion, ever being raped, ever being in a severe health crisis during a pregnancy," Groen said.

      This is where Christina would argue abortion isn't healthcare at all.

      "We feel that abortion is not healthcare; there's a fundamental difference between healthcare that heals, and healthcare that kills," Velie said.