News Release: Michigan Employers Forced to Pay for Abortions in Bill Fast-Tracked by State Senate

Legislation Goes Beyond Roe, Stated Intent of Proposal 3 in Requiring Employers to Treat Elective Abortions, Pregnancy the Same

A young woman holding her child as they both gaze into the distance.

March 16, 2023

(Lansing, Mich.) — A majority of Michigan lawmakers are quickly moving a bill to force employers to pay for elective abortions as part of their employee benefit plans, a clear violation of the constitutionally protected rights of conscience for individuals, employers, and faith-based institutions and yet another example of continued abortion extremism in the Legislature, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) stated today.

In the span of 24 hours, a Senate committee and the full Senate approved Senate Bill 147, which would force all employers in the state with one or more employees who do not have self-insured ERISA plans to pay for elective abortions as part of their employee benefits plan. If an employer is providing benefits for pregnancy and childbirth, this would also mandate insurance coverage or paid medical leave for elective abortions.

It should be noted the legislation would specifically require adding coverage for termination of a pregnancy. Under Roe, Michigan employers were not required to treat elective abortion the same as pregnancy and childbirth with regards to employee benefits. Abortions due to medical necessity to save the life of the mother were previously covered. This bill breaks from that precedent to now require elective abortion benefits to be the same as any employer-provided pregnancy and childbirth benefits.

The following comments may be attributed to Rebecca Mastee, J.D., Michigan Catholic Conference Policy Advocate:

“No one should be forced to support another person’s choice to have an elective abortion — financially or otherwise. Despite abortion rights supporters frequently mentioning ‘choice’ and how abortion is ‘no one’s business,’ this bill takes away the choice to decline support for abortions and makes it the business of employers and fellow employees to pay for others’ abortions.

As we stated with regards to separate legislation moving toward the Governor for her likely signature, this is another example of how the passage of Proposal 3 is being used to justify extreme policy changes that go beyond what was permissible even under Roe and beyond the stated intent of Proposal 3 to ‘merely’ restore Roe.”

Senate Bill 147, sponsored by Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor), now heads to the state House for further consideration.

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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