CRAMER: New abortion law is immoral and cruel

On Wednesday afternoon, the Legislature of our state passed a new law on abortion coverage in the Michigan. The new law requires women to buy additional insurance if they want abortion coverage in their health insurance plans, and it will take affect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns for the year.
Dec 15, 2013


Though Gov. Rick Snyder has previously vetoed a bill with similar provisions, this initiative was brought before the Legislature by a Right to Life petition that garnered 315,477 signatures —around 4 percent of our state’s voters.

And, as a priest, I feel compelled to say that this bill is immoral and cruel.

The new law will require not only that women purchase this coverage separately, but that they purchase it before they are pregnant. There are no exceptions for any circumstances — not even rape or incest.

Thus, this bill means that, in the State of Michigan, if a woman is raped she cannot have the abortion covered by her regular insurance and must pay out-of-pocket for it. If a young girl is violated by a relative and winds up pregnant by incest, she will have to pay out-of-pocket for an abortion. If a woman is pregnant and suffers severe complications that put her life and the life of her unborn child both in jeopardy, she will have to pay out-of-pocket to have an abortion that would save her own life.

No matter the circumstance, unless the separate rider is purchased in advance, there can be no insurance coverage for women placed in these horrible situations.

The measure passed our Legislature despite the powerful and gripping stories of several women legislators, including Democratic Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, who revealed that she had been raped 20 years ago while she was in college. 

I want to be very clear: I agree with my own church’s teaching that abortion is always a tragedy — but it is not a black-and-white question. Scripture itself acknowledges that life in the womb is different than life outside the womb (see the different penalties in Exodus 21:22–25).

That said, we should absolutely find just ways to lower the amount of abortions that happen through increased education, contraception and social programs. However, this law uses money as a coercive force upon women in painfully difficult situations. It creates a situation where, once more, women who have money will have access to health care and freedom to make their own choices, but women in poverty will be forced to follow the misguided will of our Legislature — no matter the horrific situation that resulted in their pregnancy.

This is wrong. This is reprehensible. And the fact that this has been supported by so-called Christian organizations makes my face turn red with shame.

I call upon all citizens of our state, and in particular all Christians in our state, to stand up and call for the repeal of this cruel law.

Instead of using money as a coercive force, instead of forcing women to make the choices some people want them to make, let’s work as a state to create communities where women never feel like abortion is their only option. Let’s pass laws raising the amount of money we provide for young families and single mothers in low-income households. Let’s make our churches places of grace and welcome where women do not feel like shame in church makes this their only option.

And, God help us, let’s never put a woman who has been raped, who has been the victim of incest, or whose very life is in danger in the even more horrible situation of realizing that her insurance will not cover her abortion.

We can do better — and the justice and love of God calls us to be a very different community than the one created by this law.

The Very Rev. Jared C. Cramer serves as rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Grand Haven and as dean of the Lakeshore Deanery of the Diocese of Western Michigan.



Was it Ghandi who said,"I love your Christ, but not your Christians." What a shame the right-wing has hijacked Christianity in this country, to the point that those of us, who are Christians, have to qualify the statement with, "Not THAT kind." Meaning not the kind who judges, condemns, hates and wages war on the vulnerable. No, I am not judging..I am sad, it is heartbreaking that we go about our business while those in power pass laws reeking of bigotry.


I was so saddened when I heard this bill had passed. Thank you Rev. Cramer for saying what I was thinking. I am ashamed to live in a state that has no compassion for a woman who is already in a bad situation.
I have to go with Tupac on this
"I wonder why we take from our women, why we rape our women, I think it's time to kill for our women, time to heal our women, be real to our women.
And if we don't we'll have a race of babies that will hate the ladies that make the babies. And since a man can't make one, he has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one."
This law does not respect woman!

Grand Haven Happy

I only partially agree wuth Craymer and for very sensible real reasons.

All costs incurred from rape and incest should be mandated without any options and are to be paid APAP by the offender regardless of how much confiscation of any or all assets past, present, or future it takes directly from the offender. NO excuses! No matter how long the mandate has to be in place as it NEVER ceases/ends until totally completed whether the offender is in jail/prison for life or less.

In the case of a pregnancy that is the result of ANY mutual consent or allowed action as it takes TWO to create the pregnancy, NOT one, the woman has to cover herself for the expense/expenses directly incurred or even to abort (which I do NOT agree with, period!). I will NEVER consent to have one penny of my assets to be used for a known MURDER!

It's not any different than being an accessory to an immoral etc action, stealing, robbery, violent asualt, DUI killing, or other murder etc other than a real human life is what's now at stake. Murder is murder and the female has NO right to commit it on a live fetus either! It takes the female to do the pregnancy action as well as the male and modern forensics and tests can and do always prove beyond any reasonable doubt who the male is and he is then forced by the courts to pay costs/support etc for 18 years min or face jail and will still have to pay the bill even with having no visitation or rights to or with the child. Very ONE sided and so much more than 1/2 of the actual cost incurred! This very rarely if ever happens to the female's 1/2 of the equation in the child's creation she was an EQUAL partner in.

Lets make it really a 50/50 proposition and with true equal parent rights or adjust any costs mandated accordingly.


Happy, the issue is that if an offender is not already in the system a rape kit won't ID him. In many, many cases of rape the offender is never found out or brought to justice. So should the victim have to pay for this if her offender can't be located and brought to trial AND convicted?
I agree with Fr. Cramer, if we could work to create a society where there are truly other choices, combined with sexual education, contraceptive education; we could help every child to be a wanted child.
And, yes,a man and a woman create a child. And you believe then, that in the rare case where a woman and her child will die if the exceedingly difficult choice to end the pregnancy is not made, that it's ok to lose them both? I can't understand that logic.


I agree with the entirety of your op-ed, Rev Cramer. This law is just plain wrong for many reasons, beyond those you concisely point out.

The bill was passed in the final days before the holiday recess, in a manner that was deceptive, knowing that the bill was controversial, would not pass muster in the voting booth by a majority of voters or be signed into law by our Republican governor, and perhaps even with the quiet knowledge that the bill was an unnecessary piece of legislation. A much better use of time, energy, and taxpayer money would be to focus on strengthening the Michigan economy, lowering unemployment rates, and creating an environment where crimes such as rape are rare.

It is wrong because it singles out women, once again, and specifically those women who find themselves in a terrible situation - pregnant due to rape or incest, or those whose very lives may be compromised due to pregnancy. All of these situations most often require extra and expensive medical treatment, none of which will now be covered with the new law. Most insidious is the fact that many miscarriages require treatments (D&C) that fall under the heading of 'abortion care' - and include hospital procedures that are very costly, not to mention with a certain degree of risk to the mother, and which now would not be covered in private insurance policies.

And yet another reason the law is wrong - the "insurance rider" is a red herring. "Other states have rushed to enact similar insurance bans over the past few years, but it’s not entirely clear how “abortion riders” will work in practice. For instance, after Pennsylvania passed this type of insurance restriction over the summer, several experts confirmed to RH Reality Check that these riders simply aren’t currently available. “Most of these states that have some kind of restriction on private health plans allow for these riders, but there’s no evidence they exist,” the Guttmacher Institute’s Elizabeth Nash explained."

Another reason the law is wrong is that it is yet another piece of legislation written by the law mill, ALEC and it's cousin, AUL. These are consortiums that write and shop bills, funded and directed by corporations, lobbyists, and conservative lawmakers who meet at retreats, often paid for by taxpayers, to hammer out and get approval by attendees on laws that are then shopped out to Republican state legislatures. These legislatures then push them through, often by nefarious means, such as was the case with this "Rape Insurance" law. Many of these laws - a record number in the past few years, in fact - target and attack women's rights, reproductive health rights, and places undue financial and health risks on women.

This law must be repealed; these lawmakers must be held accountable; it is our moral duty to speak out against these misogynistic legislative actions - now and in the voting booth.


I could go on and on but it's already been said. Treating/judging women differently is prejudice no matter how you look at it. The Rev. is correct, although I don't think this is a Christian issue, I think it is a right and wrong common sense issue and I am ashamed, again, of my elected government officials.

deuce liti

To go along with your treating women differently issue:

I still find it crazy that we are arguing/discussing laws for women killing their babies, but

No one says anything about the government telling women they can't charge money for sex.

That's how crazy people in this country are, people don't want the government telling women what they can do with their bodies when it comes to murder, but not sex.

Why won't this absurdity get through anyone's head.

This is the same country that has people elect officials to serve their bests interests, only so the officials can abandon them for greedy riches in the deep pockets of lobbyists.

Of course, this was an article written by someone who doesn't teach anything from the bible just his own brand of feel-good shake and bake christianity. Remember cramer, your transubstantiation belief goes against what God and later the apostles said, "do not eat blood."

Place snarky emoticon here-->


Abortion is murder of the most innocent no matter what the circumstances and we argue about who pays the clinic for it? I'd say the unborn are paying the highest price with a life that will never be, you talk about a baby and a gift from God like it’s an STD. This reverend is a phony and condones murder while pampering those who would so flippantly become murderous, if you are in his flock know that he does not serve God, go somewhere else if you cannot defrock him and the people who sent him to you.


I couldn't disagree more with this letter. So sad that we have men, women, children - and apparently the protestant religious - shouting so loudly for the free and unrestricted right to murder the unborn - who are reliant only on the protection of their mothers. It is ridiculous to say that people have to pay for murder of unborn children.

Tri-cities realist

"CRAMER: New abortion law is immoral and cruel". What about abortion itself?


At the end of the day; I still see the person getting the abortion as having put their happiness ahead of someone else's life.


And it is very likely that, at the end of the day, the rapist is also putting his happiness ahead of the life of someone else, including the baby that might be conceived as a result of that search for "happiness".


You can't talk sense to the senseless.


Abolish Human Abortion:


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