Right-to-life petition-driven bill subverts democracy

Updated: Friday, December 6, 2013
Right-to-life petition-driven bill subverts democracy story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A petition-driven bill by right-to-life to prohibit insurance companies from including abortion coverage as standard in what they sell is now in the hands of the Michigan legislature.
 
Tonight in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says it's a matter best left to voters, not to legislators--who themselves also signed the petition.

=====================

Let's pretend for a moment that you and I and a group of like-minded souls have long wanted to ban football from high schools because the sport is a source of injury that many players will be suffering from in one way or another for years to come.

We know that the whole state won't agree with us. So we convince four percent of Michigan voters to sign our petition that insurers can no longer routinely cover the cost of treating football injures.

And that the Michigan High School Athletic Association ought not be in the business of providing insurance anyway.

We submit it to our legislature, where we have friends, they act on it, and it becomes law. Just like that.

Kids who can't afford insurance can't play. And we're on our way to banning the sport altogether.

Unlikely,  illogical, and undemocratic to be sure; but it's analogous to what the right-to-life petition does.

It would protect women from pregnancy from rape by forcing them to purchase an optional rider on their insurance policy. It doesn't even require insurance companies to offer such a thing.

And the only thing standing between the petition and it becoming state law is our Republican-led legislature—most of whom, by the way, already signed that petition.

It's a stacked deck.

It was also signed by about 300,000 registered voters. Four percent of the total. That's all.

Four percent! This is the way we run our democracy? Where we allow the will of a handful to dictate to the rest?

The last time I looked, on the issue of abortion, Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land.

It allows women to maintain control over their bodies. It's up to them to determine whether they will carry a pregnancy full term.

My own view is that life is the greatest choice. But a choice it remains.

And I've heard the refrain too many times: how so terribly liberal it is for that woman to have an abortion.

And on the other side: how so terribly liberal, and what a drain on the economy, for that woman to collect public assistance and food stamps to raise that child of hers.

Gov. Snyder says he thinks the bill is inappropriate, but that its not his call.

Republican leaders in the House and Senate say they're undecided.

Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer says forcing women to buy rape insurance is the most misogynistic proposal she's ever seen.

The only right thing for this government to do now is allow the matter to go to a state-wide vote next November.

It would stop this "friends-in-high-places" approach to lawmaking, and let democracy work by letting the people—all of the people—decide.

In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.

Business News

Last Update on August 20, 2014 17:13 GMT

APPLE-STOCK

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Apple's stock touched a new high Wednesday, reflecting investors' renewed faith in CEO Tim Cook's ability to outwit the competition and expand the technological hit factory built by the late Steve Jobs.

The milestone represents a dramatic turnaround in sentiment since Apple's shares reached its previous split-adjusted peak of $100.72 in September 2012. The shares peaked at $100.77 Wednesday morning, giving it a market value of roughly $600 billion -- more than any other publicly held company.

Apple's stock fell to a split-adjusted $55.01 in April 2013 to wipe out about $300 billion in shareholder wealth amid worries that the Cupertino, California, company had run out of ideas without Jobs as its mastermind.

Those concerns have faded amid high hopes for an iPhone with a bigger screen.

EARNS-TARGET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Target has slashed its annual profit outlook as the retailer continues to reel from a massive data breach, a disappointing expansion in Canada and sluggish sales in the U.S.

The nation's third-largest retailer also said Wednesday that its second-quarter earnings dropped 61.7 percent.

The Minneapolis-based company says it earned $234 million, or 37 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Aug. 2, compared with earnings of $611 million, or 95 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 1.7 percent to $17.4 billion, slightly above the $17.38 billion estimate from FactSet.

Excluding expenses related to the breach, the company earned 78 cents per share, which was in line with Target's reduced estimate issued earlier in the month.

Analysts had expected 79 cents per share, according to FactSet.

EARNS-LOWE'S

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Lowe's second-quarter net income increased 10 percent, bolstered by improving weather.

The home improvement company's performance beat analysts' expectations, but the Mooresville, North Carolina, company lowered its full-year revenue outlook slightly, citing its year-to-date sales and prior assumptions for the second half.

Lowe's Cos. earned $1.04 billion, or $1.04 per share, for the three months ended Aug. 1. A year earlier it earned $941 million, or 88 cents per share.

Analysts expected $1.02 per share.

Revenue rose 6 percent to $16.6 billion from $15.71 billion, topping Wall Street's $16.57 billion forecast.

Sales at stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailer's health, climbed 4.4 percent.

Lowe's now anticipates full-year revenue rising about 4.5 percent. Its prior outlook was for an approximately 5 percent increase.

BARNES & NOBLE-SAMSUNG

B&N and Samsung introduce co-branded tablet

NEW YORK (AP) -- Barnes & Noble and Samsung on Wednesday unveiled a new co-branded tablet called the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook that will replace B&N's own Nook tablets.

The 7-inch tablet will sell for $179 after a $20 instant rebate, the same entry price of the non-branded Samsung Galaxy Tab 4.

The move had been expected, since Barnes & Noble said in June it would team up with Samsung to develop Nook tablets that would be available in August.

For the first time, the Nook will have a front- and rear-facing camera. It comes with more than $200 in content from the Nook Store, including books, TV shows and magazines. However, apps are limited to Nook apps rather than the full suite of Android apps available on Google Play.

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY-SETTLEMENT

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Warren Buffett's company has agreed to an $896,000 penalty for failing to tell regulators about a December 2013 investment in wallboard maker USG Corp.

The Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday that Berkshire Hathaway Inc. should have notified the Justice Department before it converted $325 million of senior USG notes it held into 21.4 million shares of the company.

Because Berkshire was already a significant USG shareholder, antitrust laws required it to notify regulators because of the size of the deal.

Regulators say Berkshire made a similar mistake six months earlier when it acquired securities in Symetra Financial Corp.

Berkshire officials did not immediately respond to questions about the settlement Wednesday.

Besides investments, Berkshire owns more than 80 subsidiaries in a variety of industries, including insurance, utilities, railroads, retail and manufacturing.

CUTLERY MAKER-BANKRUPTCY

BUCKLAND, Mass. (AP) -- The nation's oldest cutlery manufacturer has filed for bankruptcy after 177 years of making knives and other kitchen tools.

The Recorder of Greenfield reports that Lamson & Goodnow Manufacturing Co. of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month, which protects the company from creditors as it reorganizes.

The business has also put its 18-acre factory complex up for sale.

According to federal bankruptcy court in Springfield, the company filed for bankruptcy protection as a result of two multimillion dollar loans it could not repay. The company owes $1 million on a U.S. Small Business Administration loan and more than $2 million to the small business corporation in New York.

Founded in 1837, the company has been owned by James Ross Anderson since 1998.

HOUSE GOP-BUSINESS GROUP

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is stepping in to help an establishment-preferred Republican in a bruising three-way Arizona primary in one of the most competitive House districts in the country.

The powerful business group is putting hundreds of thousands of dollars behind a television ad for state House Speaker Andy Tobin, who has struggled to raise money. His two rivals -- businessman and rancher Gary Kiehne and state lawmaker Adam Kwasman -- are already on the air with TV ads.

The primary is Tuesday but early voting began July 31.

The Chamber ad, which begins airing on Thursday, focuses on Tobin, calling him a "rock solid conservative," and the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick.

The commercial makes no mention of the two other Republican candidates.

advertisement
Washington Times
advertisement