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Women In Michigan Will Now Have To Decide If They Might Be Raped When Buying Health Insurance

by David Badash on December 12, 2013

in Civil Rights,Discrimination,News,Politics

Post image for Women In Michigan Will Now Have To Decide If They Might Be Raped When Buying Health Insurance

Republicans in the Michigan House and Senate just passed a bill that will force women to decide whether or not they think they might be raped when buying health insurance. The so-called “rape insurance” legislation prohibits all public and most private insurance plans from paying for any abortions, unless the woman has previously and specifically before becoming pregnant bought additional coverage, known as a “rider.”

The law becomes effective 90 days after the legislative session ends, and was crafted as a “citizens initiative” to not require the governor’s signature, after he vetoed similar legislation last year. “I don’t believe it is appropriate to tell a woman who becomes pregnant due to a rape that she needed to select elective insurance coverage, and, as a practical matter, I believe this type of policy is an overreach of government into the private market,” conservative Republican governor Rick Snyder had said last year upon announcing his veto.

But yesterday, the legislature passed the measure. Only three Democrats voted for the bill.

Among those Democrats opposed was Michigan Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, who was so offended she offered a personally revealing story in the hope of killing the bill, which she labeled “one of the most misogynistic proposals I’ve ever seen in the Michigan Legislature.”

“I’m about to tell you something I’ve not shared with many people in my life,” Whitmer said through tears. “But over 20 years ago I was a victim of rape. And thank god it didn’t result in a pregnancy. Because I can’t imagine going through what I went through and then having to consider what to do about an unwanted pregnancy from an attacker.”

“If this were law then and I had become pregnant, I would not be able to have coverage because of this. How extreme does this measure need to be? I’m not the only woman in our state that has faced that horrible circumstance…. I think you need to see the face of the women you are impacting by this vote today.”

“The fact that rape insurance is even being discussed by this body is repulsive,” she concluded.

Whitmer, as she spoke on the Senate floor, lambasted her Republican male colleagues “as they weigh in on issues that they know nothing about.” She paused and appeared to stare specifically at several Senators.


MSNBC notes Michigan is now one of “eight states that already have laws restricting abortion coverage in private insurance plans, including those sold on the exchange. Women on the state’s Medicaid are already barred from using it to cover abortion except in very narrow cases.”


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davidbrooklyn December 12, 2013 at 12:39 pm

The sooner that women, and the men who love them, stop voting Republican the sooner this will stop happening.

kajunteddy December 12, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Mind blowing! Absolutely ludicrous

RenaSully December 12, 2013 at 1:47 pm

This is not ridiculous at all. It's a step towards ending the practice of legalized murder, which is what abortion is.

Towanda December 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm

No, this is a form of victim-blaming. Having women buy health insurance based upon whether or not they might be raped is an indirect way of saying that women are asking for it when they get raped. If we spent more time telling men not to rape, then ludicrous and misogynistic bills like this one would never be written.

BVWyatt December 12, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I think the person (David Badash) writing this story made up the headline…and the people voting against it (MI Democrats) made up the tag line "rape insurance". What I believe this actually is, in a requirement that women of childbearing age/ability carry additional insurance (rider) to cover the cost of pregnancy/abortion regardless of how they got pregnant, either by rape or consensual sex. If you get group insurance at work, as either a female employee or the spouse of the employee, that has always been a concern, if the insurance covers pregnancy, and a rider specifically for pregnancy is often required. This is an effort to make sure that coverage is in place.

Opponents are calling it rape insurance so that people will be outraged! And who wouldn't be outraged at such a thing – but that is NOT what this is..quit trying to spread hate – I am sick of the "Us" against "Them" that is being spread by articles like this that are meant to inflame people with outrageous titles.

Tom_in_CA December 12, 2013 at 6:04 pm

If you look at the quote from the Republican Governor when he vetoed the legislation last year, it appears that your characterization is incorrect, and the tone of this post is exactly correct.

Dee Cunningham December 12, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Women should not have to pay more than men for health care. Wasn't that part of the whole idea of the ACA?

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