Western Herald – Opinion: Get active, get organized and get rid of the ‘Rape Insurance’ bill

Opinion: Get active, get organized and get rid of the ‘Rape Insurance’ bill

Jax Anger
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.”

The full text is available here and will shortly be available on michiganlegislature.org.

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.


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Jax Anger is the Editor in Chief of the Western Herald. She is majoring in Global and International Studies specifying in History and Economics and minoring in French. She has an associate degree from Ferris State University in Legal Studies. Jax has worked for a collegiate newspaper throughout her university experience. She was previously the Opinions section Editor at the Ferris State Torch at Ferris State University and the Newsletter and Opinions Editor at the Western Herald at Western Michigan University.

One Comment to Opinion: Get active, get organized and get rid of the ‘Rape Insurance’ bill
    • John Henry
    • Unfortunately, this seems like just more par for the course in the current political climate here. There seems to be a contingent of people in this state who want the entire population to be white, christian men and anyone else who happens along is just chattel to be exploited until they’re dead.

      Worse, we’re unlearning common sense. We’ve fallen into this ridiculous trap of thinking that if we can just throw enough rules at people telling them not to do things, they won’t do them.

      This has never, ever worked. Doesn’t work with prohibitive drug laws, didn’t work with alcohol prohibition, doesn’t work with abstinence-only sex education, doesn’t work with

      This bill, and many others of similar nature, are part of an ongoing effort to roll the entire legal system back to about 1832, where women were objects, minorities property, and freedom something that only came to those who could afford to buy it.

      Meanwhile, sane nations the world over are looking at us and going “dear heaven, they’re still hung up on the abortion issue?” As long as there are unplanned pregnancies, there will be abortions. The only thing this kind of legislation does is ensure that those seeking abortion will be left with only urban legends and back alleys. And – just like the recent smoking ban on WMU’s campus – the net result, intentional or not, will be another mechanism to lock the poor out of any hope of upward financial mobility.

      Because you know what? This bill isn’t going to stop people *who can afford it* from getting coverage, or getting an abortion, just like the smoking ban isn’t going to cause anyone who can afford their own car to smoke in – or an industrial-sized container of Febreze to keep the air in their dorm room from stinking of smoke, or to live off-campus – to get kicked out of school…but I’ll bet we see more than one broken “promise” as a direct result, and I bet we see the first dorm fire within three years from some fool trying to hide their lit smoke under the mattress when the RA comes sniffing around.

      Funny thing is, Medicaid actually *did* cover abortions here until 1989 (give or take a couple of weeks)…and until an outside fundamentalist special interest group came in and made a bunch of noise about it, nobody cared. Soon as the pitchforks-torches-and-bibles crowd came in, suddenly we were all evil demons tithing to the dark lord of the underworld and we gotta put an end to this…and the number of births among women 15-19 jumped by *20%* in the first year after the ban on Medicaid funded abortions was enacted (see: http://www.mdch.state.mi.us/pha/osr/abortion/PregTrdTeen15-19.asp, law effective Dec 1988 per http://www.rtl.org/legislation/ProlifeLaws/medicaidabortionfunding.html) The number of births to women in this age group increased by almost precisely the same number by which abortions decreased – around two thousand, even though the number of pregnancies actually went *down* slightly.

      It’s all about convincing ignorant and credulous people in the middle and lower classes to vote against their own interests by framing those interests as beneficial to a scapegoated minority group – women of “loose virtue,” people with too much melanin, non-heterosexuals, pick your target – and thereby ensuring that the profiteers keep profiting and the rest of us keep losing. This bill, like so many others introduced and passed by the increasingly draconic right wing in this state, is deliberately engineered to ensure that basic rights like the decision whether to have children are available to those who can afford it…and nobody else.

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