Michigan Republicans: Drunk with power, anti-women
As Amy and I have been writing about for quite some time now, Michigan Right to Life was able to gather enough signatures representing just 4.2% of Michigan voters to put a bill before the state legislature to force women to buy a special rider on their health insurance to cover abortions. They did this through an infrequently used device called the “indirect initiated state statute” which I describe in detail HERE.
Today, Republicans in the House and Senate passed the bill which now becomes law. It does not require the signature of Governor Rick Snyder who vetoed similar legislation last year because it does not make exceptions for cases of rape or incest. Because the new law does not make this exception, it has come to be known as the “Rape Insurance” bill. The ballot initiative, which is opposed by a majority of Michiganders, was deceptively titled the “Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act”. This law doesn’t allow women to “opt out”. It FORCES women to opt in.
In this country, abortion has been legal for 40 years. And yet the forced birthers in America have spent the entire four decades since the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision doing everything in their power to prevent women from having access to this legal medical procedure. Today’s action by Michigan Republicans is one more cut in their “death by a thousand cuts” approach that has included terrorists activities such as bombing abortion clinics and murdering doctors who perform abortions.
It’s worth noting that this new law does not just impact insurance provided by state or federal governments. It covers ALL insurance including private insurance. It begs a couple of questions: What are girls under the age of 26 who are their parents’ health insurance supposed to do? Also, if you have health insurance through your employer, are you now required to inform them that you want this coverage? This would be a monstrous invasion of medical privacy.
None of this matters to the minority group of forced birthers who believe every pregnancy should end with the birth of a child even if it’s the result of a rape or incest. Don’t have the means to support a child but have an unplanned pregnancy and can’t afford an abortion? That’s tough. And you can sure the same legislators that voted for this egregious attack on women’s reproductive rights will be there to cut your food stamps and other social safety net programs that will assist your child once it’s born.
If a woman has a life-threatening problem with her pregnancy, the difficult choice to have an abortion will come with a doctor’s bill to add one more level of pain to an otherwise painful situation, courtesy of Michigan Republicans.
The outrage over this new law is pouring in.
Democratic candidate for governor Mark Schauer:
This bill is a shameful attack on Michigan women. The fact is, this legislation will force Michigan women to pay more for health insurance and limit access to critical health care services for women who have been the victim of a crime. At a time when Michigan has the third worst unemployment rate in the nation, it’s clear that we need new leaders in Lansing who are focused on creating jobs instead of passing bills that hurt Michigan women and families.
Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer:
Whether a planned pregnancy has gone horribly wrong and a woman needs a medically necessary D & C procedure, or the deplorable and devastating acts of rape or incest have resulted in an unwanted pregnancy, the Senate Republicans’ passage of this cold-hearted rape insurance proposal means Michigan women now have to anticipate the unimaginable and plan to have these unspeakable things happen to them. This is the height of hubris and paternalism that a room full of men have decided they are fit to dictate the terms of Michigan women’s health care, that they can make this decision recklessly without giving a moment’s consideration to the various personal circumstances we women face, and it is an appalling example of political pandering that the Michigan Legislature is bending to the whims of a single high-powered and extreme special interest.
Democratic Senator Rebekah Warren:
To even claim that women will have the option of abortion insurance under this initiative is deceitful. Michigan is not the first state to take action on this issue; seven other states have already enacted this legislation. In five of these seven states, purchasing an abortion rider is not even an available option. In passing this initiative, we are allowing that 4% of Michigan’s people to dictate the health care options for 100% of Michigan women. For that reason, I firmly believe that this policy must be repealed as an insincere representation of the will of the people.
House Democrat Vicki Barnett:
Even with their own governor being against it, Right to Life went ahead and gave 3 percent of the population the voice for 100 percent of women in Michigan. Legislative Republicans are once again catering to the whims of special interest groups, and the citizens suffer. Now, Michigan woman need to plan ahead for ‘rape insurance’ in case the absolute worst happens.
House Democrat Marcia Hovey-Wright, Women’s Democratic Caucus Chairwoman:
A woman’s health care decisions should be made by herself, her doctor and her family. Health care decisions are private matters, and special interest groups shouldn’t be allowed to collude with government to intrude upon them.
House Democrat Ellen Cogen Lipton:
Republicans have been insisting that the government shouldn’t interfere with insurance company practices, but in this case, that’s exactly what they’re doing. It’s time for the so-called ‘party of small government’ to be exactly that. Republicans need to let the people have the final word on this terrible piece of legislation.
Progress Michigan executive director Lonnie Scott:
Today it’s official: Michigan Republicans truly view women as second-class citizens. On the one-year anniversary of Right to Work, the Republicans used the same divisive tactics and passed a controversial law that had no committee hearings and no chance for public input. Republicans should be ashamed of bowing down to special interests who have no regard for the well-being of women and not letting Michigan voters decide.”
In what can only be called a near-miracle, the law did not receive “immediate effect” in either the Senate or the House and will go into effect in March. Democratic Representative Sarah Roberts has pledged that there will be another indirect initiated state statute to overturn it and put the matter before voters.
If you think there isn’t a Republican War on Women, you aren’t paying attention. Today, they won another battle in this ongoing war.
Remember this in 2014. That’s when we’ll all have a chance to replace these hypocritical, drunk-with-power Republicans who want a government so small that it can fit inside a woman’s uterus.
War on Women Eclectagraphic by Anne C. Savage