Newsletter/ Opinion Editor.
This column is extremely hard for me to write. Not because I disagree with the subject matter, but because I am so passionately against the recent passing of the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act (dubbed the “Rape Insurance” bill) I couldn’t articulate or communicate on the topic without cursing until I was blue in the face.
All puns about my last name coinciding with my current emotional status aside, the bill recently passed by the Michigan Legislature brings a new wave of misogyny to Michigan by making it impossible to have any abortion covered under private insurance, even in the case of rape or incest.
The Right To Life website states:
“The three-bill packages would exclude standard abortion coverage from health plans operating under the exchange, and all other insurance plans in Michigan, whether public or private. Purchasers of health care insurance who want abortion as a covered benefit in their plan may purchase an optional rider adding this coverage.”
Right to Life Michigan (RTL) presented the proposal last year which passed both the MI House and Senate but was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Snyder.
Not wanting to give up, the political activist group took it one step further and started a citizen-initiated petition drive that garnered approximately 300,000 signatures.
The petition went under the guise of “No taxpayer dollars for abortions” and was pimped-out by RTL Michigan every where from street corners to churches, needing only three percent of Michigan’s total population to get into a legislative position in accordance with Michigan’s State Constitution.
While vetoed by Gov. Snyder already, the citizen-initiated bill didn’t require the signature of the governor to become law. It’s on the books with the support of only three percent of the population and no support from the State’s Governor.
The scariest part of this bill is the fact that we’re focusing on the Rape Insurance portion, the portion that restricts abortion, and missing out on some of the scarier parts that aren’t being looked at thoroughly enough. Michigan’s Voice, the activist group that brought the legislation and circulated the petitions, published on their website the full bill as it reads.
Here’s a snippet of what’s coming:
“Sec. 11. As used in this act:
(a) “Elective abortion” means the intentional use of an instrument, drug, or other substance or device to terminate a woman’s pregnancy for a purpose other than to increase the probability of a live birth, to preserve the life or health of the child after live birth, or to remove a fetus that has died as a result of natural causes, accidental trauma, or a criminal assault on the pregnant woman. Elective abortion does not include any of the following :
(i) The use or prescription of a drug or device intended as a contraceptive.”
What does that section above states is the underlying cause for my hatred of this bill, and the reason why I (still) can’t speak about it without a series of comic punctuation marks “@%&#!!!” emanating from my mouth.
They’re trying to get rid of birth control completely, and now they’ve got a law that gives them leeway to do it.
What’s worse is that few, if any insurance providers will step up to offer the additional rider, and even if they did buying such insurance will automatically bring down the double-standard judgment of being “that girl with the baby-killing papers” as a friend of mine eloquently put it.
The lies told by Michigan’s Voice, and RTL Michigan are not something we should stand for as Michiganders and especially as women. Few abortions in MI are even covered by insurance, with the Michigan Department of Community Health reporting that only 3.3 percent of abortions in MI are covered by some type of insurance and that out of those, none are covered by taxpayer money, Planned Parenthood, or other government funded organizations. 95.4 percent of all abortions were self-pay, meaning no insurance or outside help whatsoever was provided.
The same report goes on to show that most abortions are performed on women under the age of 25, and 13.5 percent were performed on women under the age of 20. According to a study done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information 70 percent of college students are under the age of 21.
Statistics, even with a margin of error, are hard to refute. Congress was lied to and so were the hundreds of thousands of petition-signers that represent a miniscule fraction of Michigan’s total population.
If you’re not mad now, just imagine as you’re home on break this season talking to your parents about making sure you’re covered in case of a sexual assault. Last year there were seven forcible sexual assaults reported on WMU campus according to the annual report published by WMU Department of Public Safety. In heavily populated student rental neighborhoods (Vine, Oakwood, Fraternity Village) there were a combined total of 93 aggravated assaults reported this year according to the KDPS E-Policing crime statistics.
If there are any reservations about how horrid this law is, I want for you when you go home to look at your mother, sisters, cousins, nieces and for a few of you children, and think about the fact that they might need to buy extra insurance to protect them from criminal activity.
Furthermore, if this law is exercised to its full capacity it will cut of access to contraceptives, including condoms.
Change only happens when we make it happen. If this law is to be stricken down it will need to full power of those it affects most. Get active, get organized and get rid of the bill.