Michigan's Abominable 'Rape Insurance' Law Goes Into Effect Today

In Michigan, an atrocious piece of legislation takes effect today: the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act, as it's called, will require women to purchase a costly additional insurance rider in advance if they want abortion services covered by their insurance — even in cases of rape or incest.

In response to this horrific and callous indifference law — which essentially calls on women to plan ahead for their rapes — opponents of the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act have dubbed it "rape insurance." Anti-choice organization Right to Life Michigan has flat-out admitted that it realizes the act won't lower abortion rates in the state — it'll just shift the burden on who pays for the services, putting an undue financial strain on women. Even more troublingly, not a single private insurer in the state will be offering abortion coverage to individuals (and just seven will sell it as part of employer-sponsored plans), which will make abortion even more financially out-of-reach for low-income women.

State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer — who vociferously challenged the bill last year, calling it "one of the most misogynistic pieces of legislature" she'd ever seen — told the Free Press that the law will have disastrous results for Michigan's female population, just one of which is that it'll limit coverage of the extremely expensive and "medically necessary" D&C procedure. In cases like that, Whitmer points out, "this isn't talking about someone looking for an elective abortion. This is a woman with a wanted pregnancy who is forced to terminate it because of health concerns and may now may face financial ruin for doing nothing more than trying to start a family." So even within the sexist "family values" logic of the pro-life movement, the law is patently terrible and unnecessarily punitive. And — stepping back from that narrow logic — making abortion a financial impossibility for women will just force them to seek out unsafe and illegal alternatives.

Thus, once again, the misogyny structuring the "pro-life" agenda has become apparent: this is a movement that values the women's freedom, safety and security less than a ridiculous quest to protect fetuses.

Image via Getty.