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 July 01, 2015 18:10 GMT

Meanwhile, oil prices are down after a report showed that crude stockpiles rose in the U.S. Benchmark U.S. crude has dropped below $58 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Slovakia's finance minister says the eurozone finance ministers have agreed not to have any more talks on aid to Greece before the country holds its referendum on Sunday.

The 19 ministers held a teleconference today. Afterward, Slovakia's Pater Kazimir wrote on his official Twitter account that the group was united in its decision to wait, adding: "Let's not put the cart before the horse."

European stock markets ended sharply higher following the publication of a letter from Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (TSEE'-prahs) to the country's creditors indicating that his government was ready to accept a large chunk of their proposals.

The letter sent yesterday says Greece will accept the demands of creditors in a new program, bar a few changes.

Traders thought the letter could form the basis of a new deal, offsetting disappointment at a subsequent televised address from Tsipras where he pressed on with Sunday's referendum on recent creditor proposals and said he was backing a `no' vote.

PUERTO RICO-ECONOMY

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Puerto Rico's troubled power company has been forced to sell bonds once again to obtain capital and avoid defaulting on a $415 million debt payment with a worsening economic crisis in the U.S. territory.

The Electric Power Authority says it paid $153 million in cash and the rest from its debt service reserve accounts. Creditors agreed to buy $128 million worth of bonds to provide liquidity. The bonds have to be paid in full by December.

Creditors also agreed to extend a debt payment deadline to Sept. 15.

A bondholders' group said that agreement will automatically end if a restructuring support deal is not reached by Sept. 1. The group said it would take legal action if negotiations derail or if bondholders are treated unfairly.

ADP-EMPLOYMENT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A private survey finds U.S. businesses added jobs at a robust pace in June, evidence that rising consumer spending and a healthy housing market are supporting more hiring.

Payroll processor ADP says businesses added 237,000 jobs last month, up from 203,000 in May.

Americans have spent freely in recent months and home sales are running at their best pace in eight years. Construction firms added 19,000 jobs last month, while retail, shipping and utility companies gained 50,000.

On Thursday, the government will issue its official jobs report for June. Economists forecast it will show that employers added 233,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent from 5.5 percent.

The ADP survey covers only private businesses, however, and frequently diverges from the official figures.

ECONOMY-MANUFACTURING

US manufacturing growth improves in June; hiring jumps

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Institute for Supply Management says U.S. manufacturing growth improved in June, helped by a jump in employment.

The trade group of purchasing managers says its manufacturing index rose to 53.5 last month from 52.8 in May. Manufacturing activity matched the high in January. Any reading above 50 signals expansion.

A measure of production fell, but it remained above 50. The gauge of new orders rose slightly to 56 from 55.8. But manufacturers are responding to the increased demand by hiring more workers, as the employment measure increased to 55.5 from 51.7.

CONSTRUCTION SPENDING

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. construction spending posted a solid gain in May, pushing total activity to the highest point since the fall of 2008, with the strength led by a big jump in non-residential projects.

The Commerce Department says that total construction spending increased 0.8 percent in May following an even bigger 2.1 percent advance in April. The gains pushed totaled activity to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.04 trillion, the best showing since October 2008.

All major categories showed increases in May, led by a 1.5 percent rise in non-residential building, which reflected increases in spending on hotels, manufacturing facilities and amusement parks. Residential construction was up a more modest 0.3 percent. Spending on government projects rose 0.7 percent.

Construction activity is expected to be a source of strength this year.

AUTO SALES

DETROIT (AP) -- Automakers are reporting June sales figures today, and it's looking like another healthy month for the industry with SUVs of all sizes continued to fly off dealer lots.

Nissan's U.S. sales rose more than 13 percent in June, while Fiat Chrysler posted an 8 percent gain.

Nissan was led by its redesigned Rogue small SUV, which posted a 54 percent increase for a June sales record of more than 23,000.

Fiat Chrysler was led by its Jeep brand, which posted a 25 percent sales increase.

Ford sales rose 2 percent, with strong sales of SUVs being offset by waning demand for cars. Sales of the redesigned Explorer jumped 30 percent.

Toyota and Honda both saw sales rise more than 4 percent.

The major exception to the upward sales trend so far is General Motors. GM says its sales fell 3 percent in June, with a drop in sales to rental companies, depressing overall results. However, GM reported a strong 19 percent gain in sales of its Silverado and Sierra pickups.

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WARREN, N.J. (AP) -- Insurer Ace is buying The Chubb Corp. in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $28.3 billion that will boost its international presence.

Chubb shareholders will receive $62.93 per share in cash and 0.6019 shares of Ace Ltd. stock.

Ace shareholders will own 70 percent of the combined business, with Chubb shareholders owning 30 percent.

The combined company plans to use the Chubb name and will have its main offices in Zurich, Switzerland, where Ace is based. Chubb's Warren, New Jersey, headquarters will contain a substantial portion of the headquarters function for the combined company's North American unit.

Both companies' boards unanimously approved the transaction, which is targeted to close in the first quarter of 2016. The deal still needs approval from Ace and Chubb shareholders.

KRAFT-HEINZ

NORTHFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Kraft shareholders have approved the sale of the company to ketchup maker H.J. Heinz, creating one of the world's largest food companies with annual revenue of about $28 billion.

Heinz' owners, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and the Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital engineered the deal, first announced in March, and will control 51 percent of the new Kraft Heinz Co.

Kraft shareholders will receive stock in the combined company and a special cash dividend of approximately $10 billion, or $16.50 per share. Each share of Kraft will be converted into one share of the new The Kraft Heinz Co.

Kraft Foods Group Inc. is based in Northfield, Illinois, and H.J. Heinz Holding Corp. is based in Pittsburgh.

The transaction will close on Thursday.

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