Prohibiting Abortion Coverage for State Employees
S.B. 366 of 1999 – Sen. David Jaye
H.B. 5595 of 1998 – Rep. Bill Bobier
This legislation requires that state employees or their dependents wanting coverage for elective abortions would have to individually request that coverage and must pay for it with a separate premium (allowing only a “life of the mother” exception). Currently, almost all health insurance plans include coverage for elective abortion as a standard benefit. Thus, for prolife individuals and employers who purchase or contribute toward their health plan coverage, their premiums are used to pay for abortions obtained by other members of the plan. Equally problematic is the ability of prolife individuals and employers to find benefit plans that do not have abortion as a covered benefit.This language only applies to appropriations for the respective fiscal year.
S.B. 907 of 1998 – Sen. David Jaye
This legislation requires that community college employees or their dependents wanting coverage for elective abortions would have to individually request that coverage and must pay for it with a separate premium (allowing only a “life of the mother” exception).This language only applies to appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1999.
Abortion Health Benefits for Public Employees
Abortion Coverage for State Employees
In 1996, an amendment to the General Government appropriations bill (H.B. 5586) that would eliminate elective abortion as part of state employee health benefits was offered by Representatives David Jaye and Nick Ciaramitaro. It applies to employees of the Legislature, Judiciary and non-civil service Executive branch as of October 1, 1996. Because civil servants have collective bargaining rights protected under the state constitution, the amendment also instructs the Office of the State Employer to negotiate future contracts with civil service unions to exclude elective abortion as a covered benefit. The Jaye-Ciaramitaro amendment to H.B. 5586 then passed the Senate. In July 1996, Governor John Engler signed the amendment into law as part of the general government appropriation bill.
In 1997 and 1998, the General Government budget passed both the House and the Senate containing the same language as in 1996 eliminating abortion as a health benefit for non-classified state employees. The Office of the State Employer was again directed to negotiate the benefit out of the civil service contracts.
Abortion Coverage for University, Public School and Community College Employees
In June 1996, a similar amendment to the Jaye-Ciaramitaro amendment was adopted to prohibit public funding for university school employees’ abortion coverage, or risk having state funding reduced dollar-for-dollar when abortions are covered. However, universities have indicated that they will probably challenge this provision in court as unconstitutional because the Michigan constitution gives universities broad autonomy in governing themselves. To date, the lawsuit has not yet been filed.
In June 1997, with the failure of the Jaye amendment on the House floor and the constitutional difficulties regarding university autonomy, an amendment to eliminate abortion coverage for university employees was not offered in the Senate. A new creative approach to the university employee situation will have to be developed.
Also in 1997, a similar amendment to the K-12 public school budget was adopted.
The K-12 public school budget and the community college budgets were successfully amended on the House floor in nearly identical amendments offered by Representatives David Jaye and Mark Jansen. The Jaye amendment was adopted on 4/24/97, and the Jansen amendment was adopted on 5/13/97. After a fight in the Senate (the Senate Appropriations committee stripped the amendments and Senator Dale Shugars offered them on the Senate floor, placing them back in the bills), the amendments were successfully adopted on 6/3/97 and 6/4/97. Then the bills went to the House-Senate conference committees to work out the final language. Because the Jaye/Jansen and Shugars K-12 amendments had identical language, the conference committee was not allowed to change that language.
Soon after being passed, school districts and teachers’ unions found a technicality in the collective bargaining law to skirt the law (which has the possibility of proving illegal if challenged). They simply get a majority of union members to vote on adding abortion as a rider to their policy, which is still paid for by the school district.
Due to a technical error, a one-word difference was discovered between the Jansen amendment and the Shugars amendment regarding abortion benefits in the Community Colleges budget. The one-word difference (omission) allowed the conference committee to address the amendment. The conference committee chair, Senator Harry Gast, who opposed the Shugars amendment seized the opportunity, with the support of other conferees, and worked to water down the language. The language as finally approved by the House and Senate stated that it is the intention of the Legislature that community colleges eliminate abortion benefits. This watered down language was basically ignored by community college administrators in fiscal year 1997-98.
On June 9, 1998 and June 10, 1998, language in the Community Colleges and Higher Education budget was added on the House floor to eliminate abortion health benefits, taking effect September 1, 1998. However, the impact of the provisions will be delayed until current contracts expire, as the prohibition is contingent on new contracts being negotiated.
Abortion Coverage for Public Employees
Senator David Jaye along with many of his Senate colleagues, on 4/28/98 introduced a 15-bill package that would prohibit abortion coverage for all public employees, including local governments and municipalities. The bills, S.B. 1060-1068, S.B. 1074-1078, and S.B. 1085 have been referred to the Senate Families, Mental Health & Human Services Committee. A similar package, H.B. 6096, H.B. 6097, H.B. 6099 and H.B. 6100 – H.B. 109, was introduced in the House. The bills died at the close of the 1997-98 session.