Michigan on March 13, 2014 a law goes into affect that many consider a direct attack on women’s rights. As another opportunity to control women, law makers have pushed through a bill without putting it to a state-wide vote. This bill is commonly known as the “rape insurance” bill because it removes the option of abortion even in instances of incest or rape.
Several insurance companies cover abortion as part of their health coverage. This bill requires that private insurance companies no longer cover abortions as part of the standard insurance including if the unborn child will not survive past birth. Even fatal fetal abnormalities are not candidates for abortion if this bill passes, forcing a woman to carry a dead fetus or give birth to a child that will never take a first breath.
Based on the wording of the bill, this also includes the morning after pill and states that abortion will not be legal "to remove a fetus that has died as a result of natural causes, accidental trauma, or a criminal assault on the pregnant woman". This is appalling.
This bill was funded through a signed petition drive from a little-known group against abortion taxes. Oddly this bill enforces private, not state insurance companies to stop covering abortion where state insurance already does not offer abortion aid.
Private insurance companies can but are not required to offer employers and women an additional insurance rider that covers abortion above their standard plan. Meaning abortion insurance may or may not exist at all. Who is really behind this type of bill? The insurance companies in essence can now hold a woman hostage to her own body by making her pay additional fees because she is female.
Women from low income families who don’t have funds to purchase standard health care and are participating in state medical programs already need to purchase abortion insurance prior to becoming pregnant if that type of insurance is available. If they don’t have this extra insurance, they must save the money somehow for this type of medical care. In this catch-22 situation, often the woman cannot save enough money for a procedure that can cost anywhere from $300 to $10,000 so she carries the pregnancy to term thus placing her and now her child (if it was a viable pregnancy) in more of a poverty situation furthering the dependency on state funds.
The Michigan state senate has four women senators in senate of 38. A bill this extreme should go to statewide vote but was pushed through and passed in the senate with 27 to 11 votes.
Senator Whitmer also explained how difficult it is being one of four women in a male dominated senate. “My republican colleagues took away women’s microphones on the floor of the house when they had the audacity to say the word ‘vagina’.” She went on to say “this is a huge problem for women when our voices are not being heard in the debate much less in the decision making process.” She indicated that testimony was not being heard from victims or from doctors.
It is clear this bill was carelessly written without consideration for women’s health and requiring women to plan ahead for the possibility of needing an abortion for any reason. Women are angry and rightly so. One young woman said that “women shouldn’t be penalized. Instead they should require that all men carry rape insurance since generally it is a man committing the crime.”
Senator John Kerry shared this perfect statement. "Too many people in America believe that if you are pro-choice that means pro-abortion. It doesn't. I don't want abortion. Abortion should be the rarest thing in the world. I am actually personally opposed to abortion. But I don't believe that I have a right to take what is an article of faith to me and legislate it to other people. That's not how it works in America."
Whether you support the idea of abortion or not, when it is your daughter or wife experiencing the devastation of a non-viable pregnancy and abortion is the only humane solution what is your choice? To hope and pray your daughter or wife and the child survive even when the odds are against a positive outcome for both or take the action you probably have told yourself you would never condone? The reality is, there is a time and place for everything. To penalize a woman for having the ability to bear children and experience complications from that ability is ludicrous.
This misogynistic bill being unmercilessly pushed through by the “good-ole-boys club” has not gone to a statewide vote because it is petition based. Another reason this bill wreaks of sneaky and unethical methods of quickly putting into law something the majority of women have no control over.
In less than three weeks this bill becomes law in the state of Michigan. Women are encouraged to take a stand if they oppose this attack on women by signing a petition. If enough signatures can be collected before the deadline to create a public referendum on the "rape insurance" measure, this ridiculous legislation can be put to a statewide vote. If this senate behaved properly and actually demonstrated that it was for the people it would have sent this to a vote in the first place. To let 34 men decide the fate of thousands of women is unlawful at best.
Unfortunately, Michigan is not the only state to adapt such a bill. According to Think Progress, other states have already implemented such ridiculous and carelessly thought out laws and others are considering the same. The only ones to benefit from this latest bout of insanity seems to be the insurance companies and perhaps any representatives receiving kick-backs from insurance lobbyists. Perhaps it is true. With enough money you can buy anything including the legal ability to hold ill or victimized women hostage.