Tea-Publican Tyranny in Michigan: Women need to buy separate ‘rape insurance’ from their healthcare plan

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The beta testing lab for Tea-Publican tyranny in America is Michigan. Tea-Publicans have used a financial emergency manager law to dissolve democratically elected city governments and school districts, and impose a dictator financial manager appointed by and answerable only to the governor. Democracy exists in name only in Michigan.

Tea-Publicans have starved the city of Detroit of state revenue sharing and forced into a Chapter 9 bankruptcy liquidation as a means of "legally" breaching a constitutionally mandated guarantee to public employee pensioners and looting their retirement security.

TalibanAnd this actually happened last week: the Michigan state legislature passed a bill that requires women to buy separate coverage for abortion if they want to have coverage for it at all, dubbed "rape insurance" by opponents. In Michigan, the meaning of 'rape insurance':

Michigan, State. Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, was not backing down.

For those you who want to act aghast that I’d use a term like “rape insurance” to describe the proposal here in front of us, you should be even more offended that it’s an absolutely accurate description of what this proposal requires. This tells women that were raped and became pregnant that they should have bought special insurance for it. By moving forward on this initiative, Senate Republicans want to essentially require Michigan women to plan ahead and financially invest in healthcare coverage for potentially having their bodies violated and assaulted. Even worse, it would force parents to have similar and unthinkably terrible discussions about planning the same for their daughters. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: This is by far one of the most misogynistic proposals I’ve ever seen in the Michigan legislature.

Whitmer went on to describe her personal experience of surviving sexual assault. The final vote was 27-11 in the Senate, to go along with passage in the House of 62-47. Republican Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a similar bill last year. But because the bill this time arose as a citizens’ initiative, it does not require a signature from the governor – neither can he veto it. Had the Michigan legislature sent it on to the ballot, it faced a divided electorate, with voters opposed to it by 47 percent to 41 percent in a recent poll. The bill will take effect early next year.

Sen. Gretchen Whitmer was interviewed by Rachel Maddow about female legislators going public with personal stories of rape to defend reproductive rights. By the way, a separate rider for "rape insurance" does not exist and/or is not offered by any insurer to my knowledge. Essentially a woman is out-of-pocket for medical expenses for an abortion, even if she is the victim of a rape. There is no more intrusive "big government" than this. No man will ever face this situation, raising an equal protection constitutional argument.

There is still a chance Michigan voters can prevent this patently offensive law from taking effect next year. Think Progress reports, Pro-Choice Activists Could Still Repeal Michigan’s New ‘Rape Insurance’ Law:

Since the legislation was “citizen-initiated” — the anti-choice community collected over 300,000 signatures to provoke a vote on the measure — it doesn’t need the governor’s signature, and will become law 90 days after lawmakers adjourn for the year. But reproductive rights activists still have options left. They could circulate a petition of their own to collect enough signatures for a public referendum, which would put the measure up for a statewide vote.

 

Pro-choice activists are already considering that type of ballot drive, according to the Associated Press. Democrats in the legislature are vowing to keep the pressure on this issue well into 2014. If they’re successful, the insurance restriction will come up for a popular vote around the same time as next November’s legislative elections.

In order to advance a referendum, Michigan state law requires activists to collect 161,305 signatures within 90 days of the legislature’s adjournment. That’s considerably fewer signatures than the anti-choice community needed to get this issue up for a vote. They were required to collect 258,088, a threshold which they ended up exceeding.

Women’s health groups say there’s plenty of evidence to suggest voters will reject the measure if it’s subject to a popular vote. According to Michigan’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), some of the lawmakers who voted for the bill represent districts where 60 to 70 percent of constituents are opposed to it. “They didn’t see this as an abortion issue,” ACLU lobbyist Shelli Weisberg explained to the AP. “They saw it as a coverage issue, as a privacy issue, as an issue that deals with commerce and not legislation. They didn’t want the Legislature trying to interfere with medical decisions.”

That’s the same reason that the state’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, vetoed the measure last year. Snyder pointed out that the legislation went too far to interfere in the private insurance market.

Opponents are planning to gather on Monday morning to rally against the new law. “This is wrong. This is disgusting. We cannot let this prevail. Join us in the fight to repeal the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act,” the Facebook event reads.

Note: As Think Progress points out, "Michigan is hardly the only state with this type of restriction on the books. Barring insurance coverage for abortion services is a popular method of attacking reproductive rights. Eight other states — Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Utah — also restrict abortion coverage in all private insurance plans offered in the state. And nearly two dozen states bar Obamacare’s new insurance marketplaces from including plans that cover abortion."

I would not be surprised to see Cathi Herrod and her Christian Taliban at the Center for Arizona Policy push a similar bill in the Arizona Legislature next year.

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