Missouri, Michigan today; Georgia tomorrow?

credit: Global Grind

credit: Global Grind

Last week, Michigan lawmakers passed a measure that in March will ban all insurance plans in the state from covering an abortion unless the woman’s life is in danger. Employers would be forced to purchase a separate abortion rider if they want the procedure covered, even in cases of rape and incest. Michigan joins the following states to allow patients to buy a rider like Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and Oklahoma.

Michigan Republican legislators passed the law in spite of the Democrats who wanted to allow the public to decide. The Michigan State Legislature first passed the measure last year, but Republican Governor Rick Snyder vetoed it, saying he did not “believe it is appropriate to tell a woman who becomes pregnant due to a rape that she needed to select elective insurance coverage.” Right to Life of Michigan collected more than 300,000 voter signatures to force a second vote on the measure. Since the bill has passed in both chambers, becomes law now, even without the Governor’s endorsement.

The bill has been nicknamed “rape insurance” because it forces women to purchase extra abortion insurance in anticipation of the possibility of being raped. Michigan’s Senate Minority Leader, Gretchen Whitmer during one of the many debates through her own tears, emotionally recounted her personal story of rape 20 years earlier, “Thank God it didn’t result in a pregnancy because I can’t imagine going through what I went through and then having to consider what to do about an unwanted pregnancy from an attacker. If this was law then and I had become pregnant, I would not be able to have coverage because of this. How extreme, how extreme does this measure need to be?”

The new law will apply to publicly funded health plans and those covering employees of private businesses. Michigan’s controversial decision, allows it to join the list of 24 other states that now restricts abortion coverage in plans offered through state insurance exchanges. Any woman who is pregnant now is not allowed to purchase the rider.

We purchase automobile insurance, because we drive miles a day back and forth to work, over miles of highway during inclement weather and while having hands free conversations. We purchase home insurance because a natural disaster could happen during the life of your mortgage BUT for a woman to anticipate an unwanted pregnancy from a rape or incest during her lifetime is beyond reasonable. It is ridiculous.

We think The Free Press editorial page sums it up perfectly:

“Besides restricting coverage for medical care to which every Michigan woman enjoys a constitutional right, the measure would make state Attorney General Bill Schuette the ultimate arbiter when insurers are reluctant to classify a pregnancy-ending event as a miscarriage. The provision designating Schuette as Michigan’s gynecologist-in-chief represents a shocking and unprecedented state intrusion into the historically confidential relationship between Michigan women and their physicians.”