Hello, fertile women: have you purchased your rape insurance yet? If anti-choice activists in Michigan have their say, women will have to buy separate insurance plans if they want to be covered for abortions. Yes, that even includes in cases of rape… something women totally plan ahead for.
Conservatives are so put off by the idea of having insurance plans cover abortions that they’re finding a new way to meddle with the health service. Since they can’t outlaw abortion altogether, they have proposed a law to forbid abortions to be funded by general insurance plans. Instead, women will have to purchase supplemental abortion insurance. Originally drafted by Right to Life, an anti-abortion advocacy group, the bill is now being seriously considered by Michigan lawmakers.
The end goal is obvious: seriously restrict women’s access to abortions. Firstly, employers would not be required to offer this supplemental insurance, and even if they aren’t anti-choice, there’s a good chance they’ll look it as an extra, unnecessary expense and not provide it for their employees. Secondly, abortions aren’t planned well in advance. By necessitating that women purchase bonus insurance, a lot of women will decline, failing to anticipate future circumstances – including rape.
Inevitably, the supplemental abortion insurance will turn into a lose-lose scenario for females. Women who seek out the insurance will be viewed as loose and unscrupulous. Nonetheless, rape victims who find themselves pregnant will be told that they should have had the foresight to buy insurance, perpetuating the victim blaming cycle that generally accompanies rape culture.
No matter how harebrained it seems, the legislation has legitimate traction. Although Republicans have not made an official declaration of whether they’ll move forward with the proposed measure, the majority of the elected officials in the Senate and House signed the initial petition to support it, giving a good indication of it moving forward. While Republican Randy Richardville, the Senate Majority Leader, wouldn’t make any official projections, he did say, “I would anticipate we’ll have something happen in the next 40 days or so.”
On the other end of the aisle, Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer has called out the bill for what it is: hateful, asinine legislation. “Forcing women to decide whether they want to buy ‘rape insurance’ and even compelling parents to make the unfathomable decision about whether to buy it for their daughters is truly despicable,” Whitmer said. “Requiring Michigan women to plan ahead for an unplanned pregnancy is not only illogical, it’s one of the most misogynistic proposals I have ever seen in the Michigan Legislature.”
Last year, Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, rejected similar legislation. His main objection was that the abortion insurance bill made no concessions in instances of rape and incest. Rather than granting these exceptions and clearing an easy path toward getting their abortion-restricting bill passed, conservatives have opted to double down on their original proposal and invite children conceived from rape to testify to Congress that their lives matter in an effort to sway public – and presumably the Governor’s – support.
Sadly, even if the Republicans do decline to pass the bill themselves, the issue will not vanish. As Right to Life amassed about 300,000 signatures in support of abortion/rape insurance, the initiative will then proceed to a public ballot where voters will have a chance to weigh in on the matter in 2014.