Michigan: Dems introduce bill to prevent 200 rape victims per year from being fined & punished

Hat Tip To: 
Amy Lynn Smith

Back in May, you may recall that I called attention to an appallingly offensive and cruel law which the Michigan state legislature (fully controlled by the Republican Party) passed which effectively subjects up to 200 rape victims per year to cruel & unusual punishment (and/or a $500 fine) for the "crime" of being, you know, raped:

As humiliating and degrading as the "rape insurance" law is, as Michigan political blog Eclectablog notes, it actually gets far worse, because:

Now we find out that Michigan women who purchase their health insurance on their own (not part of a group insurance plan) don’t have the option to purchase the extra abortion rider on their insurance. The reason? Because the bill passed by Republicans violates an Affordable Care Act provision that prohibits insurers from offering riders to standard insurance. In other words, their law makes it impossible for women not covered by a group policy to obtain the insurance rider that Republicans are forcing them to buy if they want that coverage.

That's right. As the Detroit News story explains:

the state “opt-out” rider law clashes with provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which outlaws both separate riders and any government subsidy of abortion. Under federal law, insurers cannot offer a rider to a standard, inclusive policy. And the new state law bars insurers from including elective abortion coverage in any policy, on or off the exchange.

So, that's the horrific news.

Here's the (potentially) good news:

If Michigan is going to force women to buy a separate abortion insurance rider in case they’re ever raped or must have an abortion to protect their health — or simply to exercise their constitutional right to choose — the least the state can do is to require every insurer to offer women this rider. Without the availability of insurance coverage, the cost to women and their health is just too high.

That’s the idea behind legislation introduced by State Senator Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) and state Representatives Pam Faris (D-Clio) and Sarah Roberts (D-St. Clair Shores), which would mandate that all health insurance companies that offer group and individual healthcare coverage must provide the option to purchase abortion service coverage.

Of course, it probably has about zero chance of actually being passed by the GOP-controlled legislature, but it's still important to try, since...

The law also makes no exceptions for a woman who needs necessary medical care because a fetus is malformed, has a genetic abnormality, her own health is at risk or because she became pregnant following a rape.

This means the proposed legislation isn’t simply about a women’s right to choose, as important as that is. It’s about protecting women’s health.

Of course, there's an even easier solution to this, which comes on November 4th: