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Proposed Measure to Limit Abortion Coverage Unpopular with 50 Percent of Michigan Voters

Just 42 Percent Support Measure, LE&A/Denno Research Survey Shows; But Voters May Not Get Chance to Weigh In if Legislature Approves It 

LANSING, Mich. – Aug. 2, 2013 – A proposed law that would ban health insurance companies from providing coverage for abortions unless customers buy additional insurance is unpopular with half of likely Michigan voters, according to a poll released Friday by Lambert, Edwards & Associates (LE&A), Michigan’s largest bipartisan public relations and investor relations firm.

Among the 600 likely voters surveyed statewide on July 23-24, 50 percent said they opposed the voter initiative being pushed by Right to Life of Michigan, while 42 percent said they supported it and 8 percent were undecided. The poll had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, with 10 percent of those surveyed reached on cell phones.

Right to Life of Michigan supporters are working to collect 258,088 valid signatures from registered voters by early September. If they succeed, the Republican-controlled House and Senate could vote to make the measure law without Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature. The GOP governor last year vetoed a bill containing a similar provision affecting one of the state’s largest insurers. If approved by lawmakers, the measure would take effect 90 days after the end of the legislative session, or around April 1, 2014.

Right to Life of Michigan opposes abortion except in cases where it’s needed to save a woman’s life.

“Although half of voters polled are against limiting health insurance plans in this way, it may not matter if enough lawmakers support it,” said Jeff Lambert, president and managing partner at Lambert, Edwards & Associates. “This has been a successful way for Right to Life in the past to bypass a gubernatorial veto.”

Among female voters, 44 percent supported requiring women who purchase basic health insurance – including some whose premiums would be partly subsidized with federal dollars – to buy additional coverage if they want their insurance to cover abortions. Forty-eight percent opposed the requirement. Among male and female respondents who identified themselves as Republicans, 57 percent supported the measure, while 38 percent opposed it.

“Right to Life probably knows it would have trouble passing this if the measure went on the ballot,” said Dennis Denno, CEO of Denno Research. “It’s a far safer course to get favorable votes from lawmakers who agree with Right to Life’s policy and goals.”

Under the federal Affordable Care Act, states can choose to opt out of requiring insurance companies to include abortion coverage in basic health insurance plans. Consumers can begin purchasing health insurance through health insurance exchanges on Jan. 1, 2014.

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About Lambert, Edwards & Associates

Named the 2010 PRWeek Small Agency of the Year, LE&A (www.lambert-edwards.com) is a top-10 Midwest-based PR firm and a top-20 investor relations firm nationally with clients based in 20 states and five countries. As Michigan’s only statewide PR firm – with offices in Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit – LE&A serves middle-market companies and national brands in five practice areas: Automotive, Consumer, Financial Communications, Health Care and Public Affairs. LE&A has posted 14 years of growth, been named an Edward Lowe “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch” and earned four Silver Anvil awards – the PR profession’s highest honor. Follow us on Twitter @LambertEdwards.

About Denno Research

The staff of Denno Research (www.dennoresearch.com) brings more than 20 years of experience in polling to their full-service public opinion company in Michigan. They offer experience in polling for political campaigns, corporations, associations and non-profit organizations, and have worked with clients in Michigan, Indiana, New York, North Carolina, and New Jersey. They have been in business since 2004 and have conducted quarterly, statewide surveys to measure voters’ opinions since 2006.

CONTACT:

Kathy Barks Hoffman
Lambert, Edwards & Associates
(o) 517-316-0210
(m) 517-256-9166
khoffman@lambert-edwards.com