Friday, June 20, 2014

New bill hopes to repeal Michigan's controversial 'rape insurance' law

Posted By on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Screen shot 2014-06-20 at 11.47.12 AM

Last year, a controversial new law that restricted a woman’s access to an abortion made headlines, not only in Michigan, but throughout the United States. Now, two women are fighting against the law and have proposed a new bill that would repeal the law.

The Abortion Insurance Opt-out Act — dubbed “rape insurance” by its opponents — required a woman to purchase a separate rider on her insurance that would allow her to have an abortion, before she needed it. There are no exceptions for victims of rape or incest and only seven of the state’s 42 insurance companies sell this rider, according to an article by the Free Press.

Similar proposals were voted down in the past, but thanks to one petition from the “pro-life” group Michigan Right to Life gained enough signatures to place the proposal before the state Legislature. Had the Legislature done nothing, the bill would have appeared on the November ballot, according to the Free Press. Instead, the Legislature passed the bill and it immediately became law—with little voice from Michigan citizens.

Opponents saw the law as an attack on women’s rights, while advocates saw it as a way to prevent those who oppose the procedure from paying for it. The Michigan Department of Community Health, reports that in 2012 only 3.3 percent of the 22,699 abortions performed in Michigan were paid for by insurance, while 95.4 percent were paid for out of pocket.

The Free Press reports, State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing and state Rep. Sarah Roberts, D-St. Clair Shores have proposed a bill that would repeal the citizen-driven law. The pair hopes that the bill will receive a lot of attention this election year, but are doubtful that it will get a hearing in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

“This is one of the most misogynistic laws I’ve ever seen,” Whitmer said in the Free Press. “All women voters were silenced by the way this law came about. And I assured all the people who have contacted me that we’re going to fight back and that starts today.”

In other vagina-related news: Two other bills introduced by state Rep. Tom Hooker, R-Bryon Center, would require women to hear the fetal heartbeat of before an abortion could be performed, and if a heartbeat was detected another bill would make it illegal to perform the abortion.

Read the whole story here.


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