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Dec 14 2013

Is your rape insured?

The state of Michigan has just passed a measure stripping abortion coverage from insurance plans: women will have to ask for additional coverage to get it. Why excluding this particular health issue is so important that it engages the legislature to specifically write it out is a mystery. It’s not as if they are going through a long list of potential surgical procedures, like say, appendectomies, and deciding for patients and doctors that they have to plan ahead for these things and purchase separate riders for them (hey, that might actually benefit me, since I don’t have an appendix; why should I have to financially prop up all you looters who still walk around with that risk factor in your abdomens?).

Unless…oh, right. Misogyny. Women’s lady parts are weird and unusual and not part of the Standard Human’s equipment, so we shouldn’t be expected to treat them as a mundane part of human health care. At least one person, Gretchen Whitmer, sees the problem of special exceptions.

In a charged hearing Wednesday, Michigan Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer told the story of her own rape and called the legislation “one of the most misogynistic proposals I’ve ever seen in the Michigan Legislature,” according to the Detroit Free Press. The fact that women are required to plan in advance to have an abortion, Whitmer said, “tells women who are raped … that they should have thought ahead and bought special insurance for it.”

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

The people responsible for this abomination of a bill are, as you might expect, a so-called Right to Life group in Michigan. Once again, the fetus gets privileges that involving taking away rights from women.

19 comments

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  1. 1
    Brandon

    This is pretty much the natural outgrowth of having an insane privatized system and an insane right-wing chunk of our government. Both of those problems need to be fixed, but I have no idea how.

  2. 2
    Akira MacKenzie

    Ah, the joy of “states rights” where we literally have thousands of piddley principalities, local and state, able to override the rights that everyone should have.

    We need to end this state shit. We should have ONE government, and you Johnny-Reb-wannabes better do as Washington D.C. says or we send in the “jack-booted thugs” with guns to stomp your right wing, JEEZ-us freak asses into pulp.

  3. 3
    Jen

    What’s worse is that it’s not just about no exceptions for rape or incest. There’s also no exception for the life of the mother or for if the fetus dies in the womb. There’s also no coverage for women if they miscarry and need to have a D&C. If she can’t afford the procedure what does she do then? These groups need to think about all the ramifications of these misogynistic laws they insist on bullying us with.

  4. 4
    Jen

    It’s not just about no exceptions for rape or incest, or the life of the mother or for if the fetus dies in the womb. There’s also no coverage if a woman has a miscarriage and needs a D&C. If she can’t afford the procedure, what does she do then? These groups need to think about all of the ramifications of these laws they insist on bullying us with.

  5. 5
    Yellow Thursday

    In addition to all the other BS surrounding this, I would think this would be contrary to the part of the ACA that prohibits charging women more for medical insurance than men.

  6. 6
    Gwynnyd

    I know a person who carried the petitions for this travesty of a law. He *swears* that this is just giving women a choice, and we liberals like choice, right? My forehead hurts from all the pounding on the desktop.

  7. 7
    permanentwiltingpoint

    Reminds me of this one:

    The Embryo Speaks (Die Leibesfrucht spricht)
    By Kurt Tucholsky (1927)

    They all take care of me: Church, State, Doctors and Judges.

    I should grow and thrive; I should slumber nine months long; I should not worry about a thing – they all wish me well. They protect me. They watch over me. God have mercy if my parents do something to me; then they will all be there. Whoever touches me will be punished; my mother lands in prison, my father right behind; the doctor who did it must cease to be a doctor, the midwife who helped is locked up – I’m a precious item.

    They all take care of me: Church, State, Doctors and Judges.

    Nine months long.

    But when the nine months are over, I have to see for myself what becomes of me. Tuberculosis? No doctor will help me. Nothing to eat? No Milk? – no State will help me. Torment and misery? The Church will comfort me, but that doesn’t fill my stomach. And if I have no bread to break or to bite and I steal: the Judge is right there to lock me up.

    Fifty years of my life no one will care about me, no one. I have to help myself. Nine months long they kill themselves, if someone wants to kill me. You tell me: isn’t that a strange way to look out for the welfare of another?

  8. 8
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    I knew what this was about before clicking through just by the headline.

    And yet, even knowing what wasn’t being said, I just felt nauseated in the extreme.

    I cannot deal with these folk. If I ever get a chance to work as a barrister in a country someone tries this, they’d better watch out: I’ll not only win, I will so zealously pursue my just cause that the only way that they can even have a chance at being heard in court is to spend their every last dime on legal fees.

    To see all that money spent on lawyers to no avail would really, really be justice. Folks with ideas this stupid need to be defunded so that they can’t damage others with this nonsense.

  9. 9
    timgueguen

    Perhaps this is a good sign. Apparently they have no plans to outlaw abortion in Michigan if they’re going to let insurance cover it on a voluntary basis.

    No, I don’t believe that either.

  10. 10
    zenlike

    I like this comment over at the source:

    Ladies-

    Any thoughts on how this action fits with the GOP’s desire to attract female voters?

    A Curious Male.

    Is there a separate bill coming through to have viagra coverage in a separate rider? Testicular cancer?

    Actually, I change my mind. Abortion should be in a separate rider. And every man in Michigan should be forced to pay into a fund that buys this coverage for every single woman. After all, without these men, there would be no need to provide abortions.

  11. 11
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Zenlike:

    The men could be exempted by a public declaration made under penalty of perjury and available as an open governmental record, that one is impotent or infertile. It should always be that phrase, not one or the other.

    This way we could fight toxic masculinity and the women-are-responsible-for-birth-control-and-abortion myth at the same time.

  12. 12
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    Rick Snyder threatened to veto this law when it was originally being passed around.

    The Right to Life group passed a petition to get it forced through anyway.

  13. 13
    Jackie

    I’d call it barbaric, but that would be insulting to barbarians.

  14. 14
    Orac

    Yes, my state embarrasses me once again. I grew up in Michigan and lived in the state until 1988, when I graduated from medical school. I then moved on to residency, fellowship, and a job in various parts of the country. Most recently, I lived in New Jersey for eight and a half years before moving back to Michigan in 2008. Twenty years away, nearly half of which was spent living on the East Coast and three years of which were spent living in Chicago, left me shocked at how wingnutty and backward my home state has become. I mean, holy crap. Or maybe it was always that way, but I never really understood it because until I lived in other states I had no frame of reference to compare it to.

    I see two issues. First, few things demonstrate the the utter hypocrisy of Republicans in my state on the issue of government size and intrusiveness than their support of this sort of bill. They chant about small government. My state senator repeats his favorite mantra of “Obamacare” being about government “control not care.” Then they gleefully support measures that insert the government into the most private issues of people’s lives. The truth is, they have no problem with government control and big government in concept. They just want it to be their kind of control and their kind of government intrusiveness, in which a minority imposes its religious views on a majority.

    The second issue is this. There are people who don’t believe in vaccines and think they are against their religious beliefs. Should such people dictate that the rest of us must purchase vaccine insurance riders if we wish to be vaccinated against deadly diseases? Same principle. Where does it end? There are any number of legal medical procedures that some minority finds objectionable on religious or philosophic grounds. Do we divide them all up into riders on health insurance policies? If not, why not? The precedent has been set.

    I’ve been boxing with my state senator on his Facebook page over this for a few days. To his credit, he hasn’t banned me yet. However, he proudly voted for this measure in the name of “religious freedom” and thinks it a good thing. Sadly, he’ll probably win reelection next time.

  15. 15
    Orac

    Rick Snyder threatened to veto this law when it was originally being passed around.

    The Right to Life group passed a petition to get it forced through anyway.

    Snyder actually did veto it. Twice, if I recall correctly. Snyder is no pro-choicer, but even he thought this measure went too far.

    Right-to-Life managed to get enough signatures to get it on the ballot. Now, in Michigan, these sorts of voter initiatives, if successful, require either that the House and Senate vote on the measure or that it go to the voters in the next election. Polls around here were pretty clear that this measure was likely to go down in flames if it were put on next year’s ballot, particularly since it’s a gubernatorial election year, which means the turnout will be higher than it would have been if this measure had been on this year’s ballot. Right-to-Life knew that this measure would be unlikely to pass in a referendum. So it pressured the Republican-controlled House and Senate to vote before the deadline of late January, after which it would have to be on the ballot next November. Surprisingly, a lot of Republicans weren’t happy about this, and it looked for a while as though the legislature wouldn’t vote in time and the measure would end up on next year’s ballot. I don’t know what sort of favors Right-to-Life called in, but it managed to get the vote it wanted. Under these voter initiatives, if they pass they can’t be vetoed by the governor.

  16. 16
    csue

    OK, I can’t keep quiet at this:

    “Women’s lady parts are weird and unusual and not part of the Standard Human’s equipment”

    …mostly because of the underlying idea PZ pointed out, namely “male = normal, female = deviation”.

    Ummm, don’t we (women) now constitute something like 52% of the population? If so, then we ARE The Standard, now.

  17. 17
    Jen

    There is a way to fix this. If our side can get 160,000 signatures before the 90 days is up, it’ll put it on the ballot next November. The thing is, who starts the petition to do it?

  18. 18
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @csue:

    If you aren’t deliberately twisting to make a point, you’re missing it.

    Someone’s experience can be “normalized” without that experience being typical.

    There’s a difference between being typical and being “the norm”.

  19. 19
    David Marjanović

    Perhaps this is a good sign. Apparently they have no plans to outlaw abortion in Michigan if they’re going to let insurance cover it on a voluntary basis.

    No, I don’t believe that either.

    Next on the agenda: abortion can only be insured if [ever-growing list of requirements for insurance companies].

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