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State Senate Senate sends Whitmer abortion health coverage bill package to Whitmer

Sen. Erika Geiss staring ahead at the camera in the State Capitol
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 bill that 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.

“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,” Geiss said.

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,” Senator Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) said.

The Senate vote comes almost exactly a month after Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a law to formally remove from the books a 1931 ban on most abortions.

She is expected to sign this bill as well.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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