Let the people vote on so-called 'rape insurance' bill

Updated: Friday, December 20, 2013
Let the people vote on so-called
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Passions are still running high in the wake of the state legislature's approval of a controversial law that requires women to buy additional insurance in advance if they want abortion coverage in their health plan.

Tonight in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says Michigan voters who were angered by what happened do have a way to express themselves.


This law, which makes no exceptions for rape or incest, or for the health of the mother, is the result of frat-boy politics designed to bypass the democratic process.

Over the past year, ever since Governor Snyder vetoed a law just like it, Michigan Right-To-Life circulated a petition that was signed by about 300-thousand people--including virtually all of the Republican Senators and Representatives in our state government.

All told, they account for roughly four percent of our state population.

They call it a veto-proof citizens initiative; but it was really a smug, old-fashioned inside job. A done deal. A slam dunk.

96 percent of the people--who our Republican legislators obviously don't trust--never had a chance to vote.

Most hardly even knew it was happening.

Four percent of the people made a law that effects everyone. This is crushingly unacceptable.

I understand the passion of the opposition to abortion rights. I, myself, believe that life is the right choice.

But our law says women have control over their own bodies. That to carry or not is a choice. So any restrictive law, like this one, ought to have the weight of the people behind it.

But it doesn't.

The latest polls indicate a majority of the people would have voted it down. They don't want government involved with what they see as medical decisions.

And Republicans know that.

To be clear the 'rape insurance' law would prohibit insurers from paying for abortions unless a woman has already purchased coverage through a separate rider.

So ya gotta hope that a future rape or incest victim has the foresight to factor in the outside chance that it might happen. Oh, and by the way...insurers really don't offer that particular rider right now.

But, hey, why should that get in the way?

For the record, most abortions are historically paid for out of-pocket. Health insurance pays for only three or so percent.

The poorest are the ones most likely to use insurance, so under the new law they're the ones most likely to get victimized twice.

It's therefore a solution to a problem that doesn't exist--except for the underclass.

Right now, Democrats are organizing a new petition drive--a drive to get this self-righteously passed law on the ballot next November.

I hope petitioners will be on every corner.

I hope people will sign it. I hope people will earn themselves the chance to vote on it. Republicans subverted the democratic process. This is the only way to regain the higher ground.

Then, once it's voted on, if the people say women do, in fact, have to buy their own rape insurance, so be it. That will be the law of our state.

The people will have spoken. And that's the way it ought to be.

In the meantime, frat-boy lawmakers ought to be ashamed of themselves.

In this corner, I'm Tom Van Howe.

Business News

Last Update on October 13, 2015 07:30 GMT


SEATTLE (AP) -- Nearly seven years after Bernie Madoff's investment empire was revealed to be a $17.5 billion fraud, the battle by investors to recover their losses ramps up with jury selection that began Monday in a case in Seattle.

A Washington state investment company is seeking to pin about $100 million of its losses from Madoff's crimes on auditor Ernst & Young.

FutureSelect Portfolio Management of Redmond and some related firms, headed by hedge fund manager Ronald Ward, lost a total of about $129 million in the pyramid scheme. In court papers, the company alleges that Ernst & Young would have uncovered the scheme if it had taken even the most basic steps to verify Madoff's assets -- something the auditing firm denies it had any obligation to do.

The case was initially dismissed, then revived by an appeals court. Washington state's Supreme Court denied a bid by the defendants to have the case transferred to New York or to apply New York law, which would not have allowed the lawsuit. Ernst & Young is the only defendant so far heading to trial; most of the others have reached confidential settlement agreements.


BEIJING (AP) -- China's imports fell by an unexpectedly wide margin in September in a new sign of weakness in the world's second-largest economy.

New customs data shows imports plunged 20.4 percent from a year earlier to $145.2 billion, worse than August's 5.5 percent decline and analysts' expectations of a decline of about 15 percent. Exports shrank 3.7 percent, though that was an improvement from the previous month's 13.8 percent decline.

Weakness in trade has fueled doubts Beijing can hit its economic growth target this year of about 7 percent.

Much of China's slowdown over the past five years was self-imposed as the ruling Communist Party tries to steer the economy to more self-sustaining growth based on domestic consumption. But the past year's unexpectedly deep decline has raised fears of politically dangerous job losses.

The government has cut interest rates five times since November and pumped money into the economy through spending on public works construction. Economic growth held steady in the quarter ending in July at 7 percent. But that was the lowest rate since the 2008 global crisis.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Traders will be focusing on corporate earnings this week as they try to assess the impact that slowing global growth is having on company profits.

Johnson & Johnson gets things going this morning, reporting its quarterly financial results before the market opens. CSX and JP Morgan Chase issue their results after the market closes.

Overall, earnings are forecast to slide by 5.3 percent, compared with the same period last year, as overseas demand weakened. But much of that decline is due to a big slump in energy company profits. S&P Capital IQ forecasts earnings in the energy sector slid by 66 percent.

Still, some analysts are confident that the outlook for companies will improve next year, as demand revives overseas and improving consumer confidence boosts the U.S. economy. Scott Wren at the Wells Fargo Investment Institute, says this earnings season will be a "confirmation process," showing inflation is low and the economy is growing moderately, but "fairly dependably."

Also on the schedule, for this afternoon, Treasury releases federal budget data for fiscal year 2015.


NEW YORK (AP) -- Transit experts say a planned $29 billion infusion into New York City's transportation network will help but not completely overhaul the massive system.

A deal was brokered over the weekend that includes $2.5 billion from the city and $8.3 billion from the state.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's five-year modernization plan funds 1,000 new subway cars, more real-time countdown clocks and track repairs.

But many transportation experts argue that the capital-spending program is mostly a maintenance plan rather than a blueprint for a robust transportation system for a 21st-century global city.

Local officials have said more ambitious plans aren't possible without significantly more federal funding.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (KWOH'-moh) and Mayor Bill de Blasio (dih BLAH'-zee-oh praised it Monday as improving straphangers' commutes.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Abbott Vascular's dissolving heart stent has passed its first major test.

In a large, one-year study published online by the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors found the Absorb stent performed as well as a conventional stent.

Stents are tiny mesh cages that keep blood vessels from reclogging after artery-opening procedures. They are used on about 850,000 people each year in the United States alone.

The stents available now in the U.S. are permanent metal implants. Abbott's Absorb stent, which is already sold in Europe, works like dissolving stitches. It's made of a material that degrades over several years. It performed as well as but not better than a conventional stent for preventing reclogging in the one-year study.


MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A jury in Wisconsin is weighing whether the owners of a gun shop should be held financially responsible for a crime committed with a weapon purchased at their store.

Two Milwaukee police officers are suing the shop for several million dollars after they were shot by a suspect using a gun purchased at Badger Guns by a straw buyer. Lawyers for the officers told jurors there were several tipoffs that should have been sufficient to cancel the sale, including improperly marked forms and the behavior of the buyer and the eventual recipient, who was too young to buy the weapon.

Attorneys defending the owner and operators of Badger Guns and its predecessor, Badger Outdoors, said in closing arguments Monday that their clients were not negligent but were duped by the straw buyer.

Authorities have said more than 500 firearms recovered from crime scenes had been traced back to Badger Guns and Badger Outdoors, making it the "No. 1 crime gun dealer in America."

Washington Times