The attack on women continues

The attack on women continues from our state legislatures. Michigan recently passed a new law, dubbed the “rape insurance” law. (This moniker actually mischaracterizes this law and the effect it has on all women by focusing on the reason for an abortion rather than the restriction to abortion in general.)

Under the new Michigan law, abortion can no longer legally be provided by one’s health insurance. Instead, insurance for abortion must be purchased separately. In essence, all women in Michigan who are of reproductive age would be forced to purchase additional insurance each year under the assumption that at some point in their lives they may need an abortion. Their bodies may be violated in the case of rape. They may need to terminate a pregnancy that goes horribly awry. They may need to undergo an abortion for other personal reasons.

Of course, the twist is that insurance companies do not provide insurance just for abortions. This type of insurance doesn’t exist. So women cannot purchase it. Women cannot have insurance for abortion. The practical effect is that only wealthier women, women who could afford to terminate a pregnancy without needing to rely on insurance, have access to abortion. (Some could argue that this is already the case: only wealthier women have insurance.)

Perhaps equally damaging is the psychological effect: women are being discounted as full individuals.

Michigan’s law is a new tactic in the Roe vs. Wade decision that gave women in the US legal access to abortion. Various state legislatures throughout the US have attempted and often succeeded in removing this legal right by skirting around the law. Rather than attack Roe vs. Wade head-on, they have implemented laws to defund clinics, in Texas, Kansas, Ohio, Arizona to name a few. They have implemented laws about requirements for these clinics, unnecessary requirements that cannot often be met, the so-called TRAP laws. They have changed the definition of personhood, which gives preference to the unborn child over the pregnant woman, to the point that women have been imprisoned for anything that may harm the unborn child.

The effect has been two-fold. One effect is still unfolding: women are in danger of losing their personhood, and all the legal and psychological ramifications of that, to a child they carry. The other effect has been underway for years: a reduction in the number of clinics that perform abortions, women’s access to abortions, and ultimately, abortion in the US. Clearly, if you cannot remove the law about access to abortion, you can starve the beast through other means.

The Michigan law is yet another tactic in starvation. Remove insurance for abortion and suddenly you remove the possibility of abortion for some women. The attack, not just on the law decided with Roe vs. Wade but on the legal and psychological status of women as full persons, continues.

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