As the controversy builds over Michigan’s recently passed “rape insurance” law, one Republican Senate candidate has refused to speak out about the issue, even as her Democratic rival slammed the law.
Senate candidate and former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land has yet to publicly comment on the recently passed Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act, which forces women and employers to purchase separate insurance riders to cover abortion, even in the case of rape or incest. Land has yet to make an official statement on the new law, and neither she nor her campaign staff has responded to inquiries from the International Business Times.
U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., who is also competing for the Senate seat being vacated next year by retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, quickly responded to the passage of the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act, calling the new law unfairly discriminatory to women, especially those who have suffered sexual assault.
"Our state is now one of only eight in the nation that will require women to pay more for their health care coverage and will ban insurance coverage for abortions even in the case of sexual assault," Peters said in a statement. "Not only does this law unfairly discriminate against women, it makes health care coverage more expensive, so Michigan women and their families are going to find it a little harder to make ends meet to cover their insurance."
The Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act, commonly referred to as the “rape insurance” law, has proven extremely controversial for Michigan. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder initially vetoed the bill, saying that he does not "believe it is appropriate to tell a woman who becomes pregnant due to a rape that she needs to select elective insurance coverage." The Republican-dominated House and Senate, however, took advantage of a provision allowing private groups with enough signatures on a petition to present proposed laws to the legislature without the governor's approval. Thus, the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act passed into law without input from Gov. Snyder.
Other prominent Michigan politicians have also spoken out against the law. Michigan Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, tearfully described her own rape more than 20 years ago at a debate over the bill and argued that the law will only penalize women who are sexually assaulted, the Detroit News reports.
“This tells women that were raped and became pregnant that they should have thought ahead and planned for it,” Whitmer said at the debate. “Make no mistake, this is anything but a citizens’ initiative. It’s a special interest group’s perverted dream come true.”
While Land has not spoken publicly on the law, Talking Points Memo notes that she has been publicly endorsed by Michigan Right to Life, which not only supported the law, but collected the 300,000 signatures necessary to force the House and Senate into a second vote on the law. Land may be quiet on the issue, but based on this affiliation, it’s possible to guess where she stands on the controversial law.
Eric Brown is an IBTimes political reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.