Mich. Senate Bill Would Allow Insurers, Providers To Deny Contraception, Other Services

March 25, 2013 — The Michigan Senate Health Policy Committee on Thursday approved a bill that would allow health care providers and insurers to refuse to cover or provide contraceptives and other services for moral, ethical or religious reasons, Interlochen Public Radio reports.

The bill -- sponsored by state Sen. John Moolenaar (R) -- would permit exceptions in medical emergencies. The state already permits health care personnel to refuse to provide abortions.

Moolenaar said that the bill "gives protection to employees and institutions that have religious liberty and conscientious objection concerns to providing particular health care service."

State Sen. Rebekuh Warren (D) countered that the "right of the patient to receive the healthcare they need has got to be paramount." She added, "This would allow health insurance payers, whole healthcare systems, hospital systems, doctors' offices, medical schools, educational institutions to cloak themselves in a conscientious objection and refuse to give treatment, even emergency treatment, to people who need care."

The full Senate could vote on the bill in two weeks, when it returns from a break (Pluta, Interlochen Public Radio, 3/21).