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Michigan’s new law: Not in the Christmas Spirit

December 24, 2013

2013-07-11 09.49.29I know that Christmas is tomorrow. I know that it’s holiday time and everyone is blogging about their year-end lists and wrap-ups (we’ve got plans to post that on Friday, don’t worry). But I want to talk about Michigan.

You might’ve seen Michigan State Senator Gretchen Whitmer stand up last week and speak out against a bill that bans private insurance plans from covering abortion, leaving women to seek separate riders for abortion coverage – which some folks are calling “rape insurance.”

Unfortunately, the law was passed on December 11 using a bizarre veto-proof process not often seen in the legislature. In fact, the Republican governor vetoed an identical bill last year saying it “went too far”, so pro-life folks took another route to get the bill passed; it goes into effect in March 2014.

The law does go too far. It goes way too far. Many folks in Michigan may not even have access to those special “abortion riders” for their insurance plans – they might not even exist in the state at all. It goes too far because proponents lied and said that the bill ensures that no taxpayer funds go toward abortion – which is already the case in Michigan. It goes too far because Michigan already has enough pro-life legislation on their plates, thankyouverymuch. It goes too far because Sen. Whitmer said that not one of her colleagues spoke on behalf of the law. It goes too far because 4% of the voting population shouldn’t be enough to make something the law of the land.

And it goes too far in the 8 other states that have similar laws on the books.

And lastly, let’s stop calling it “rape insurance.”  Jessica Valenti says “the term ‘rape insurance’ does a disservice to women—and to the reproductive justice movement” because it creates a hierarchy of good/bad abortions, and which ones deserve coverage. We believe that ultimately, abortion is a deeply personal and often complex decision for a woman, and we think that a woman, not politicians, should make the informed decisions when it comes to her own pregnancy.

Watch Senator Whitmer speak out here:

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