There are times when words feel fruitless; writing them down feels like screaming at the top of my lungs to an empty room. Sometimes, we have to do it anyway. This is one of those times.
About a week ago, I read a story which reported that the Michigan legislature was considering passage of a bill that would require women and employers to purchase separate insurance for abortion, even if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. What has come to be known as “rape insurance” has many absolutely incensed, outraged, left with our heads spinning.
The underlying message of the bill is this: as women, we should prepare for rape. We can’t gain access to abortions if pregnancy results from this trauma without first planning for it.
I’m sorry, when, exactly, did we cross this line?
Some Michigan lawmakers describe this new bill as the “will of the people,” something the citizens of their districts and state want. But, as State Senator Gretchen Whitmer explains, the actual polling suggests that only 1/3 of the state supports the bill, and the numbers are even more abysmal in the districts that these lawmakers purport to represent.
Local pro-life organizations spun the law to be an assault on Obamacare, something that would somehow make up for the faults we have all heard too much about.
I will recognize that I come to the abortion issue with a leftist perspective, but this insurance rider is so insulting, so beyond my comprehension, that words feel impossibly useless. When I attempt to talk about it with my partner or friends all that comes out is, “I just …” or “I can’t even …”
And that’s nearly all I can say.
I want to scream at the Michigan legislators for creating a new framework for rape victims that makes it harder for them to access the healthcare and rights they are constitutionally entitled to. This misogynistic law – and it is nothing short of that – has no comparison for men. What would that even look like? Some sort of odd requirements for Viagra? Restrictions on how many condoms one can buy?
The simple fact is, there is no comparison. This law, drafted by men, achieves nothing but more disdain for the Republican party.
The actual effect, is that women in Michigan are required to plan ahead for rape. They need to think about the likelihood that they will become a victim of this crime when they decide what insurance to buy.
In the United States, one in four women will be raped in her lifetime – is this the punishment? Instead of addressing the issue that men are more often than not the perpetrators of this crime, we are requiring that women plan to be raped and therefore spend money ahead of time?
Truly, all I can say is, “I just can’t” – I can’t believe it has come to this.