War on Women — December 13, 2013 at 7:52 am

Senator Gretchen Whitmer’s personal story of sexual assault falls on the deaf ears of male Republicans senators


Photo by Anne C. Savage

Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer spoke to the state Senate before their vote on the odious, anti-woman “Plan Ahead for Your Rape” rape insurance bill this week. During her speech, she went off script and told her personal story of being sexually assaulted 20 years ago. It was a powerful, emotional moment. She wasn’t the only one but her speech has gone viral because of its passion and intensity.

There are people in this chamber who have lived through things that you can’t even imagine. I have a colleague who I was trying to encourage his story, but he’s still grieving. It was a planned pregnancy that went awry and required a D&C. I started to think about that and I thought, “I can’t push one of my colleagues to share a tough story if I’m not brave enough to share one of my own. So, I’m about to tell you something that I’ve not shared with many people in my life. 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 about what to do about an unwanted pregnancy from an attacker. As a mother with two girls, the thought that they would ever go through something like I did keeps me up at night.

I thought this was all behind me. You know how tough I can be, but the memory of that still haunts me. If this were law then and I had become pregnant, I would not be able to have coverage because of this.

How extreme? How extreme does this measure need to be? I’m not the only woman in our state that has faced that horrible circumstance. I am not enjoying talking about it. It’s something that I’ve hidden for a long time. But I think you need to see the face of the women who you are impacting with this vote today. I think you need to think of the girls that we are raising and what kind of state we want to be, where you would put your approval on something this extreme.

I ask that you at least let the people of this state have a vote on this. Don’t ram it through using some loophole that is going to impact 100% of the women in this state when only 4% of signed onto a petition. Let the people decide. Let the people of Michigan decide.

But, of course, they didn’t.

Last night, Senator Whitmer was also on The Rachel Maddow Show, representing the people of Michigan proudly: