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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 November 24, 2014 18:22 GMT

EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- A member of the European Central Bank's rate-setting council has said monetary policy cannot boost long-term growth and called instead for reforms by governments to make the weak economy more investment-friendly.

Jens Weidmann said in the text of a speech in Madrid on Monday that low interest rates and stimulus measures can boost short-term demand but that central bank action "cannot permanently boost growth prospects."

Weidmann, who also heads Germany's Bundesbank central bank, said that long-term growth depended on countries' willingness to lower barriers to investment by streamlining bureaucracy and rules on hiring and firing.

His remarks follow a speech last week by ECB President Mario Draghi in which he said the bank was ready to do more to boost the struggling economy.

GREECE-JOB PROSPECTS

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greece may be exiting a cruel six-year recession, but it will take at least 20 years for employment to regain pre-crisis levels without concerted action, the United Nations' labor organization says.

An International Labor Organization official says a series of ILO recommendations could speed up the process by about eight years.

ILO research department head Raymond Torres outlined the proposals in a new ILO report presented in Athens on Monday. They combine emergency measures -- including a 1 billion euro youth employment program and improved commercial credit conditions -- as well as structural reforms.

Greece nearly went bankrupt in 2010 after years of profligate public spending, and took harsh austerity measures to secure international bailouts. Unemployment is 26 percent, with most jobless people at least a year out of work.

Meanwhile, the Greek finance ministry says the country's debt inspectors will meet with Greek officials in Paris on Tuesday to move ahead with the stalled review of the nation's financial reforms.

UNITED TECHNOLOGIES-CEO

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Louis Chenevert (Shen-eh-'VAIR), the chief executive officer of aerospace and building systems giant United Technologies Corp., is retiring abruptly after six years and will be succeeded by the company's chief financial officer.

The Hartford, Connecticut, conglomerate announced the change of leadership on Monday. It promoted CFO Greg Hayes to the top job.

Chenevert steered United Technologies' $18.4 billion purchase of aerospace parts maker Goodrich Corp. in 2012. It was the industry's largest deal and gave the company a stronger presence in the aerospace industry.

Chenevert iinformed the board of directors of his retirement as chairman and CEO effective immediately.

Edward A. Kangas, lead independent director, has been elected non-executive chairman of the board.

The 54-year-old Hayes has been with United Technologies for 25 years and has been hief financial officer for the past six years.

BRITAIN-GOOGLE LAWSUIT

LONDON (AP) -- Google has agreed to a settlement with a former Morgan Stanley banker who sued the search engine over defamatory Internet posts.

Daniel Hegglin, a Hong Kong-based investor, went to Britain's High Court to force Google to ensure posts falsely labeling him a murderer, pedophile and Nazi didn't appear in search results.

Hegglin's lawyer, Hugh Tomlinson, said Monday that the case had been settled. He didn't disclose details, but said the settlement "includes significant efforts on Google's part to remove the abusive material."

Google lawyer Antony White said Hegglin had received an "exceptional" amount of Internet abuse.

He said Google wasn't responsible for policing the Web, but would "continue to apply its procedures that have been developed to assist with the removal of content which breaches applicable local laws."

STOPPING CAR HACKERS

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Where consumers see an advantage in cars that connect to the Internet for entertainment or use computers to parallel park, hackers see an opportunity.

In staged tests, hackers have shown that they can penetrate cars' networks and cut the brakes -- or lock them up -- or even kill the engine.

While there are no publicly known instances of a car being commandeered outside staged tests, neither industry nor the government is waiting.

One Defense Department-funded program seeks to reconceive the most critical lines of computer code that control the car in a way that could make them invulnerable to major known threats. The model code would be distributed to automakers, who could adapt it to their needs.

FIBROID TREATMENT-CANCER

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. regulators have strengthened their warning against use of a once-popular device for gynecologic surgery that can spread unsuspected cancer, saying its risk is only justified in a fraction of patients.

The Food and Drug Administration is updating its April safety warning, now saying doctors should not use the devices, called laparoscopic power morcellators, for performing a hysterectomy or removing uterine fibroids "in the vast majority of women."

The FDA's Dr. William Maisel says there are safer options for the procedures for most patients -- but he said the device may be appropriate for some women.

One manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, directed surgeons to stop using its device for the procedures in April, when concerns about inadvertently spreading cancer inside women's abdomens first arose. It's now conducting a worldwide recall.

US STEEL-PENGUINS

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- United States Steel Corp. has announced it will build its new world headquarters in Pittsburgh as part of the NHL's Penguins' redevelopment of the former Civic Arena site.

Company, team, city and state officials made the announcement Monday.

The steel giant has been in talks with local leaders about whether to remain in Pittsburgh, as the current headquarters in the 64-story U.S. Steel Tower -- downtown Pittsburgh's highest building -- has shrunk in recent years as other tenants have occupied more space in that building.

The Penguins reached an agreement last fall with local officials about the scope of the $440 million redevelopment.

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