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.

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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 April 17, 2015 17:12 GMT

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The Labor Department says the consumer price index rose 0.2 percent in March. Inflation moved at that same pace in February, which ended three straight monthly declines caused largely by falling oil and gasoline prices.

Gas prices remain about 33 percent lower than a year ago, but they bounced up 3.9 percent from February to March. Over the past 12 months, consumer prices have slumped 0.1 percent.

Outside food and energy, core prices also rose 0.2 percent in March. The cost of clothes, housing, cars, and medical care increased, while food and airfare decreased. Core prices have risen 1.8 percent in the past year.

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- An index designed to predict the future health of the economy slowly crept upward for the third straight month, a sign that the pace of growth has been weakening since the start of 2015.

The New York-based Conference Board says its index of leading indicators rose 0.2 percent in March, after gains of 0.1 percent in February and 0.2 percent in January.

Building permits were the weakest part of the index, while slowdowns in average working hours and new factory orders have also been in a drag over the past six months.

Conference Board economists say that the modest gains may be signaling a continued decline in growth over the coming months.

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Net income from the part of GE that the company will retain after the sale fell 5 percent to $3.1 billion, the company said Friday. Adjusted earnings per share fell 6 percent to 31 cents, a penny better than analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research expected, on average.

Revenue fell 12 percent to $29.4 billion, below the $34.4 billion analysts expected.

GE announced last week it would sell most of the assets in its GE Capital subsidiary, the latest and most dramatic move by the company to transform itself into a more focused industrial conglomerate that makes large, complicated equipment for other businesses.

Costs and charges associated with the sale totaling $14.1 billion pushed the company to an overall loss of $13.57 billion in the quarter, down from a profit of $3 billion during last year's first quarter. On a per-share basis, the company lost $1.35.

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) -- Reynolds American's first-quarter profit climbed, helped by increased cigarette prices. Its adjusted profit beat analysts' expectations.

The parent of the Camel and Pall Mall cigarette brands earned $389 million, or 73 cents per share, for the three months ended March 31. A year earlier it earned $363 million, or 67 cents per share.

Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, were 86 cents per share.

Revenue amounted to $2.06 billion in the period.

Reynolds American Inc. still expects full-year adjusted earnings in the range of $3.65 to $3.80 per share. Analysts polled by FactSet predict earnings of $3.79 per share.

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Users said the outage started as trading was getting in full swing around 8 a.m. in London.

By day's end in London, Bloomberg said its service had been "fully restored." In a statement, it said hardware and software failures in its network caused excessive volumes that led to customer disconnections as a result of the machines being overwhelmed.

Though the outage is an extremely rare phenomenon for the firm started by former New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, in the early 1980s, it's likely to cause concern at the company.

Bloomberg has become the world's biggest financial information provider, overtaking rival Reuters.

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Economy minister Akira Amari announced plans for the talks with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman late Friday.

The U.S. and Japan must agree on market-opening measures before the 12 countries involved can reach a long-delayed final accord on the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership, a Pacific Rim trade pact.

An agreement by U.S. lawmakers Thursday to propose legislation allowing President Barack Obama to negotiate trade accords for overall congressional review appeared to help move things along.

The plan for Cabinet-level talks suggests the two sides made progress this week on resolving differences over the pace and scale of market opening.

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Obama's seeking to reassure critics by saying deals with Asia and Europe would have enforceable labor and environmental protections.

Obama spoke at a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Top congressional lawmakers reached a deal Thursday to pave the way for the broadest trade policy pact in years. Under the agreement, Obama would be allowed to negotiate trade accords that Congress could approve or reject, but not change.

That authority would set the stage for Obama to complete a sweeping trade agreement with 11 Pacific nations.

CHINA-TIGHTER STOCK RULES

BEIJING (AP) -- China's securities regulator is tightening control over lending to small investors trading stocks.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission has banned a type of financing called an umbrella trust, tightened control over other financing and told brokerages to limit potential risks, the commission said in a statement Friday.

The statement cited comments by the commission's deputy chairman, Zhang Yujun, to a gathering of brokerage executives.

China's stock market has doubled over the past year as more small investors shift money into stocks. Tighter control over lending might reflect concerns that investors are taking on too much risk.

Zhang was cited as saying the commission plans to intensify inspection and law enforcement efforts.

GREECE-BAILOUT

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greek officials say negotiators are to meet representatives of the country's creditors again on Saturday to "find common ground" in tortuous talks over the future of Greece's bailout.

Dependent on funds from two multi-billion euro bailouts since 2010, Greece is fast running out of cash. Negotiations with representatives of its creditors in other eurozone countries, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank have not gone well, with the new left-wing government in Athens insisting their demands are too onerous.

For their part, the creditors insist the country must produce credible reforms before they unlock the final 7.2 billion euro installment. Without it, Greece could default on debts it must repay the IMF next month, and run out of cash to pay salaries and pensions.

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Major freight railroads are already limiting oil trains to no more 40 mph in urban areas under a voluntary agreement, but the order makes that a requirement and extends it to trains carrying other flammable liquids like ethanol.

There have been dozens of fiery crashes over past decade involving trains hauling oil and ethanol in the U.S. and Canada.

FEDERAL LANDS-ROYALTIES

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The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comments on proposed regulations that would give the government more flexibility to set fees.

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Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says the current regulations have failed to keep pace with technological advances and market conditions.

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