On Wednesday, the Michigan State Senate passed a bill that requires a woman to purchase separate health insurance prior to getting an abortion. The bill passed by an overwhelming majority, 27-11, and had already passed the Michigan House by a margin of 62-47. This is pretty much the same bill that had previously passed last year along similar lines but was actually vetoed by Republican Governor Rick Snyder. Therefore, a petition was signed by thousands of voters to bring it back up to a vote. Due to the petition signing, as long as it passed both chambers, it would become law without the need for a governor’s signature.
One lawmaker, Democratic State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, used her time on the floor on Wednesday to not only express her strong opinions against this bill, but to point out that this, in effect, is ‘rape insurance.’ Her argument is that a woman who becomes pregnant via rape should have bought special insurance for such a tragic event. Below is video of her speaking:
In case you are unable to view videos or do not have time to listen to all ten minutes, the most compelling part was this quote:
For those you who want to act aghast that I’d use a term like “rape insurance” to describe the proposal here in front of us, you should be even more offended that it’s an absolutely accurate description of what this proposal requires. This tells women that were raped and became pregnant that they should have bought special insurance for it. By moving forward on this initiative, Senate Republicans want to essentially require Michigan women to plan ahead and financially invest in healthcare coverage for potentially having their bodies violated and assaulted. Even worse, it would force parents to have similar and unthinkably terrible discussions about planning the same for their daughters. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: This is by far one of the most misogynistic proposals I’ve ever seen in the Michigan legislature.
While the gerrymandered districts of Michigan were able to get this bill passed, it appears that even with district lines favorable to Republicans, that the people of Michigan, especially women, are primed to change the legislative structure of the state. A recent PPP poll in Michigan showed that voters favor a Democratic legislature to a Republican one 46-38. As for women, they favor the Dems to control the state legislature by 22 points. That gap will only widen after the passage of this bill, placing the GOP in perilous waters.
That gap is even worse when it comes to the favorability ratings of the GOP legislature. Overall, only 28% of Michigan voters view the GOP state lawmakers favorably. However, for women, it was down to 23%, with 59% having a negative view. That is also sure to change after this bill’s passage. My guess is that if the poll was held this week, the GOP’s favorability rating among women would be in the teens, perhaps lower. It is quite possible that the Republicans shot themselves in the foot with this bill’s passage, as they were already unpopular in the state. This might make them completely toxic, with no amount of gerrymandering able to save them.