Remember that “rape insurance” legislation that we talked about in December? Well, as of tomorrow, it becomes law in Michigan. I can see the appeal for the twisted old men on the far right who conspired to bring this about, as they’ve long been looking for opportunities to chip away at Roe v. Wade, and further restrict the reproductive freedom of women, but I can’t help but think that there will be unanticipated economic ramifications as the flow of young, college educated professionals leaving Michigan continues to build. I’ve made a decision to stay here and fight, as I know many of you have, but, if I were a younger person, especially a recent college graduate, I can’t help but think that I’d relocate to a community where I was respected, and trusted to make my own decisions when it came to my body and my health. It pains me to say it, but, when my daughter is of age to leave the the nest, and make it on her own in the world, I’m going to suggest that she gets as far away from here as possible, and never looks back, assuming, of course, that we aren’t able to reverse this trend over the next half dozen years. Sadly, though, I think it’s true what that say about Michigan rapidly devolving into the Mississippi of the Midwest, and I can’t imagine that my dreams for her can come to fruition in an environment like that.
As I have very little new to say about this legislation, here, in part, is what I wrote 90 days ago, when the measure was voted into law by the Michigan legislature.
Late yesterday afternoon Michigan Republicans passed controversial legislation making it illegal for insurance companies to include abortion procedures as part of their standard coverage, even in cases of rape or incest, or where the life of the mother might be in jeopardy. Should women in the sate of Michigan require abortion coverage, in the opinion of these legislators, they should have to buy it on top of whatever insurance they might already have and pay for. Clearly the intention, as with last December’s anti-abortion omnibus bill, is to greatly reduce the number of legal abortions in the state of Michigan, without running afoul of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. In other words, as they can’t legally keep women from having abortions, they’ve essentially decided to make those procedures as costly and inconvenient as possible.
The law will take effect 90 days after the Michigan Legislature adjourns for the year.
So, if you think you my may get raped in the new year, you may want to add “abortion insurance” to your Christmas list.
The passage of this legislation should be a surprise to no one… Last year, as you may recall, anti-abortion Republicans in Lansing, in an attempt to further curtail the reproductive freedom of Michigan women, inserted similar language into a Blue Cross Blue Shield restructuring bill (SB 1293). Governor Snyder, in that instance, did the right thing and vetoed the bill. “When I proposed these reforms (to Blue Cross Blue Shield),” Snyder said, “there was no reference to abortion. Regrettably, those provisions were later added. I don’t believe it is appropriate to tell a woman who becomes pregnant due to a rape that she needed to select elective insurance coverage. And as a practical matter, I believe this type of policy is an overreach of government into the private market.” Unfortunately, others in his party did not see it the same way. They regrouped immediately and began looking for other non-electoral means of accomplishing the same thing, knowing that, it it were ever put to a vote, it would be easily defeated.
And, with that, the far right initiated a petition drive to get around Snyder’s veto. And it was successful. The Michigan Right to Life petition was sighed by 315,477 people, or about 4% of the state’s voters. And that, for reasons I still don’t quite comprehend, apparently makes the legislation veto-proof.
It’s absolutely mind boggling to me that just because 4% of Michigan voters signed a petition, victims of rape can now be coerced into carrying the children of their attackers to term. And, yes, I realize that most women who get abortions aren’t the victims of rape. That’s just the most egregious part of all of this. No one, however, regardless of the reason they desire to have an abortion, should be forced to conform to the narrow beliefs of a religious minority. And this is especially true in a country where Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. With all of this said, is it any wonder at all that young, educated women are fleeing our state in droves…
If the Republicans cared about democracy, they’d allow the question to be put to a vote. This, however, was never about the will of the people. This was about 4% of our population using tricks and gimmicks to get their way, and force the women of Michigan to conform to their narrow interpretation of biblical law. This is coercion plain and simple, and it’s absolutely shameful…
So, tomorrow it becomes law. No word yet how much this “fundamentalist tax” is going to cost the women of Michigan. One imagines, however, that it won’t be cheap… One also imagines that every parent worth a damn is coming to accept they fact that their daughters will likely leave the state unpin reaching adulthood, never to return again.
update: I’ve been searching around the internet tonight, trying to get a quote for rape insurance. The closest I could get, though, was this from the CBS affiliate in Detroit.
…Once the measure takes effect Thursday, it will apply to new or renewed health plans. The state says seven of Michigan’s 45 insurers, including giant Blue Cross Blue Shield, will sell supplemental abortion policies to small and large employers…
If you know what the costs might be, please leave a comment.