LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Last week, the Democrat-led House and Senate in Michigan voted to change the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to include protections for LGBTQ+ people. More specifically, protections in the the law now include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression so that LGBTQ+ individuals can not be discriminated against. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the amendments into law on Thursday.

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Religious leaders including Catholics, Protestants and Muslims, opposed the changes saying that it could expose them to potential lawsuits if they speak their conservative views about sexuality and marriage. However, no protections for religious exemptions were included in the legislation.

There are also no protections for religious exemptions or organizations in the most recent bill that passed with a party-line vote of Democrats to amend the ELCRA to mandate that all employer benefit plans that cover pregnancy now pay for elective abortions.

Senator Ruth Johnson (R-24) offered an amendment that would have exempted employers who have a religious and conscientious objection to abortion benefits; however, attempts to include protections for employers, women, or the unborn were quickly shut down.

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The Michigan Catholic Conference said in a news release that this new legislation was fast-tracked in the state senate in a span of 24 hours and that it goes beyond the stated intent of Roe v Wade or Proposal 3 and is a “clear violation of the constitutionally protected rights of conscience for individuals, employers, and faith-based institutions.”

Rebecca Mastee, J.D., Michigan Catholic Conference Policy Advocate says, “No one should be forced to support another person’s choice to have an elective abortion – financially or otherwise. Despite abortion rights supporters frequently mentioning ‘choice’ and how abortion is ‘no one’s business,’ this bill takes away the choice to decline support for abortions and makes it the business of employers and fellow employees to pay for others’ abortions.”

Genevieve Marnon, Legislative Director, Right to Life of Michigan says, “State Senate Democrats are pushing through some of the most extreme pro-abortion legislation in the country, using Proposal 3 as cover for their radical agenda. Proponents of Proposal 3 repeatedly stated its passage would simply codify Roe v. Wade in Michigan. However, many of the protections that remained in place under Roe, including conscience protections, are systematically being targeted and stripped away by this new legislature.”

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Marnon added, “Pro-abortion members are ramming extreme legislation through without notice and without allowing full testimony from advocates for life. This is really unprecedented from anything we have seen in Michigan.”

Right to Life of Michigan is calling on all House members to reject this bill that they say strips away “common-sense conscience protections from Michigan employers.”

The bill now heads to the state House for further consideration.