News Release: Legislative Majority to Impose Abortion Mandate on Michigan Employers

Proposal 3 voters did not ask for legislation that equates abortion to childbirth

A pensive-looking mother holding her young child against her chest with the child's head over her shoulder.

May 3, 2023

(Lansing, Mich.) — Michigan Catholic Conference is responding with strong opposition to the legislative majority’s approval of Senate Bill 147, which would create an abortion mandate on employers in Michigan. The bill would require a range of employers to pay for elective abortion benefits as part of their employee benefit plans if they are also providing benefits related to pregnancy or childbirth. SB 147 passed the full House today after passing the Senate back in March.

Under existing law, Michigan employers are not required to treat elective abortion the same as pregnancy and childbirth with regard to employee benefits. SB 147 breaks from this precedent to require elective abortion benefits to be comparable to any employer-provided pregnancy and childbirth benefit. The legislation specifically states that “a term, condition, or privilege of employment” includes “a benefit plan or system.”

“We are profoundly disappointed that legislation which equates elective abortion with childbirth has been approved by the Legislature and is soon headed to the Governor,” said Rebecca Mastee, J.D., Michigan Catholic Conference Policy Advocate. “Not only does the premise of equating childbirth to abortion offend human dignity, it is also wrong to push employers into providing employee benefits related to abortion if they offer paid maternity leave or insurance coverage for childbirth. Abortion is not the same as childbirth, nor does it represent ethical healthcare in any way.”

“It is a grave injustice that abortion — the intentional act to end a preborn child’s life — is being forced upon employers and fellow employees who might object as a matter of conscience. No one should have to support another’s abortion — financially or otherwise,” said Mastee.

Senate Bill 147, which will most likely be signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, follows other extreme abortion-related policies that have been approved by the legislative majority this session, including removing from state law criminal penalties for administering an abortion that results in the death of the woman, and repeal of a law that bars the advertising or sale of unsafe, unregulated abortion pills, powders, or drugs.

While voters’ approval of Proposal 3 last November has been cited by supporters of the aforementioned bills as rationale for moving legislation, MCC continues to point out that during the ballot campaign supporters of the constitutional amendment routinely told voters and media that the policy was ‘only about restoring Roe v. Wade.’ The policies being approved far exceed what had been permitted under Roe in Michigan.

“This radical expansion of abortion in Michigan is harmful for women and must end,” Mastee said. “We pray and work for a day when all elected officials will support policies that protect all human life and provide life-affirming options for both preborn children and their mothers. Women deserve better than abortion.”

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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