• Thu, Dec 12 - 5:30 pm ET

Michigan Law Will Require Women To Purchase Insurance Rider For Abortion Coverage

90786556An initiative requiring women to buy additional insurance for abortion coverage passed the Michigan Legislature yesterday, and will take effect 90 days after they adjourn for the year. The news for women is just getting better and by better. And by better, I mean mind-numbingly worse.

The initiative will require most public and private insurance plans to provide a rider for abortion coverage. Women basically have to purchase “abortion insurance.” They may never be in a position to need one – but just in case they have to pay for a rider. What kind of backwards thinking is this? I am firmly in the camp that all abortions should be covered – elective and medically necessary. Not only is this totally anti-woman, it’s anti-victim as well. Clearly no woman expects to be raped – this will just add another layer of trauma and trouble as the procedure will not be covered unless she has planned ahead for a situation like this. This is tantamount to “rape insurance.” This is sick.

This was a citizen-initiated petition, started by the Michigan Right to Life organization. It was initiated after Governor Rick Snyder vetoed similar legislation last year:

The citizen-initiated legislative petition drive has been used four times successfully in the past, including three abortion-related questions and eliminating the single business tax. It allows the Legislature to act on the petition and it becomes law 90 days after lawmakers adjourn for the year. It is not subject to approval or veto from Snyder.

There are eight other states that have instituted policies that prohibit public and private health insurance from covering abortion care. Isn’t it great being a woman in America – where seemingly every decision we should be able to make for ourselves is up for a vote?

It’s almost as if people feel like we have nothing else to worry about in this country. Never mind our horrid economy, child hunger, diminishing test scores – what’s happening inside her vagina? That’s what I’m most concerned about!

“These legislators need to know what they just did,” said Shelli Weisberg, a spokeswoman for the ACLU of Michigan. “Women are mad. It’s like every election cycle, they do something that specifically goes against women.”

(photo: Getty Images)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • Ashley

    UGH, this makes me so mad I don’t even know what to say.

  • I figured it out!

    This is a joke, right? Maria Guido doesn’t actually exist; “Maria Guido” is a sock-puppet account created by Eve to troll the shit out of us, and she’s at home laughing her ass off at our frustration and loving the fact that she’s an expert-level troll since nobody has realized she’s been doing it until now, right? Because if that’s not the case, and Maria Guido is real, then we have to accept that this whole article and it’s subject matter is also real–that there is really a such thing as “abortion insurance.” And that’s just a reality I’m not cool with, seeing as this is such complete and utter horseshit. So,on that note, nice one, Eve. You’re hilarious!

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      You’re right. I’m not real. Go back to a time before this news emerged. It will all be okay.

    • I’m kidding, Proud Floridian

      I’ve suspected as much for a while. You claim you live in Florida but have not once made mention of loving bath-salts, pooping in strange places, or where to find a good riding manatee. Face it, “Maria,” you just come across too sane.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      You know you can only win comment of the week once, right?

    • Annoying in person, too

      I swear, my goal isn’t to win. I try to write clear, concise, and helpful comments sometimes, but my serious ‘voice’ sounds really disingenuous to me. My dad used to tell me that my face would freeze a certain way if I made that face too often, but he never warned me that constantly being a sarcastic smart-ass would do the same thing.

    • http://ultimatemamacat.tumblr.com/ Hana Graham

      Hahaha!

  • Kay_Sue

    I was arguing this point with someone on Facebook earlier. He thinks this is a sign that the tides are turning in favor of the anti-choice movement and the GOP.

    I sincerely hope the women of Michigan unite and make their voices heard this coming election year. It is just ludicrous.

    • Amber Starr

      Women (and men who TRULY love & respect women as human beings) need to be RAGING over this. Let’s burn This world down!

  • keelhaulrose

    Okay GOP, which is it? You’re anti Obamacare, but pro this shit?

  • nikki753

    “It’s almost as if people feel like we have nothing else to worry about in this country.”

    This. So much.

  • Rachel Sea

    The sane people of Michigan should form a pact to never have sex with anyone who was a party to passing this through.

    • momjones

      dadjones is just as disgusted. He used to be a fierce independent, but since the Republicans have ruined the State of Michigan, he has vowed never to vote for another one again.

    • NYBondLady

      Yeah, those republicans really stuck it to Detroit.

  • Janok Place

    What. The. Hell.

  • Amber Starr

    Hey Michigan Lawmakers,

    Go fuck yourselves. Seriously.

    • momjones

      Though I wanted to use those exact words with my State rep (yes, I live in Michigan), I let him know what a slime ball pig he is. The. Worst.

    • Amber Starr

      Good for you! I am SO sorry to hear that THIS is what the suits think of you (and the rest of us). Dear God, i hope they come to some kind of sense and QUICK.

  • AP

    It’s idiotic, too: I Googled, and it turned out that in Michigan last year, there were 23,000 abortions. 3% of them were paid for using health insurance, while 97% of them were paid for fully out-of-pocket.

    It was clearly necessary to make a national media spectacle just to stick it to 690 women.

  • brebay

    Can we all start voting on routine Viagara coverage? After all, if a man’s that old, his wife’s probably past menopause, and since she can no longer procreate, and therefore no longer allowed sex, why the hell is her husband having all this sex? And with whom? Old men just need to take an aspirin…and put it between their wrinkled knees…

  • brebay

    Anyone have an idea of the out-of pocket cost for an abortion? Seems like every woman will be paying for one within a few years of this shit. It’s a relatively cheap procedure compared to many things that are routinely covered. Cheaper than an x-ray, an MRI, a prostate exam….clearly just a political stunt…I think everyone who isn’t part of a militia has already left Michigan…

    • keelhaulrose

      Average is $500 for an early-term abortion (not counting time off work, travel, or lodging expenses), and up to $10,000 for a late-term (again, just the abortion, and these are usually the ones performed when the life of the mother is in peril or if there’s something seriously wrong with the fetus).

    • AP
    • VaginaWarrior

      That’s such a good question and addresses another serious problem. This new law will mostly hurt women who need to abort very much wanted pregnancies because of serious fetal abnormalities. These D & Cs often have to be performed later in the pregnancy and can cost *thousands* of dollars. So in Michigan, if you get pregnant but find out that your baby won’t survive, your insurance, *which you pay for*, won’t cover your care because extreme religious conservatives don’t believe in it.

  • Natasha B

    Rage headache. FU, Michigan.

  • http://ultimatemamacat.tumblr.com/ Hana Graham

    Isn’t this illegal?! Surely it doesn’t match with the federal laws!

  • Katja Yount

    What I don’t understand why isn’t there a small rider included already in most Women’s Health packages to begin with.

    • DeanaCal

      My question to this was actually related. Previous to this, were abortions already covered, and now you have to pay extra for the rider? Ot if they were not covered at all, does this change now give the opportunity for coverage where it didn’t exist before? The answer to that makes a big difference in my reaction.

    • NYBondLady

      Exactly. I thought women wanted coverage. If this allows that option, great. But now coverage isn’t good enough? It must be free, too.

    • VaginaWarrior

      Wow, do you have free insurance? I still have to pay for mine.

    • CMJ

      If they were covered, they aren’t anymore and women have to get a SEPARATE rider for it.

    • DeanaCal

      Yes, but that’s exactly my question. WERE they covered before? If they were NOT covered before, then this is actually a baby step in the right direction, so that they at least CAN be covered.

    • CMJ

      For some people, they were, and for some, they aren’t. The majority of insurance plans actually don’t cover elective abortions. I have a feeling if they weren’t covered before, the company won’t provide a rider for it…the issue is, no one knows how it’s going to work because these abortion riders don’t even exist yet. Technically, insurance companies don’t even HAVE to provide these riders…even if they did already cover elective abortions (which most of them don’t). Basically, this law is taking away coverage for the small amount of people who actually had insurance covered elective abortions and saying – well, now you can’t have this, even though you paid for it, but hopefully you can get one of these riders just in case you have an abortion.

      It’s not a baby step in the right direction because it’s not going to magically allow everyone to buy a special insurance rider for abortions – especially if they are on any kind of publicly funded insurance. It’s basically fucking over the small percentage of people who had private insurance that would cover an elective abortion and political grandstanding at the most horrible level.

    • DeanaCal

      Okay so I think I understand now – the people who actually DID have this coverage are now losing it because it’s going to be a separate rider and cost more. That’s what I was trying to clarify. If nobody had this coverage anyway, then adding a rider at least gave an option that hadn’t previously existed, but I don’t like that it would be at the expense of people who already had it.
      I also don’t think that adding a rider would “magically allow everyone” to buy it. When I said a baby step in the right direction I meant that at least with a rider for coverage that didn’t exist before, it’s getting abortion into the mainstream discussion of what should and should not be covered, instead of leaving it out of the discussion altogether, as if it were a cosmetic procedure like a boob job or something.

    • CMJ

      The big issue is that this initiative came from a small group of “Right to Lifers” in Michigan….that was passed through a wonky process that makes it non-vetoable by the governor.

      No matter what some people might be saying on this thread (not you) this was not put in place to make it easier to get covered abortions.

    • DeanaCal

      Thank you for clarifiying. I didn’t want to come out all ragey and saying “this is terrible!” only to find out that it was actually better than what was already in place. Sounds like that is not the case.

  • NYBondLady

    “I am firmly in the camp that all abortions should be covered – elective and medically necessary.”
    They will be covered, but coverage ain’t FREE.
    Let’s be honest here, the reason everyone is upset is because this is seen as an additional cost for women. If Michigan had raised EVERYONE’s insurance costs equally, then no one would care. Spread the pain, I guess.

    • CMJ

      If my private insurance (that I pay a premium for) covered abortion, it would no longer cover it. And I would have to purchase a separate rider for it.

      No one is asking for it to be free.

      Not to mention – abortion riders don’t even EXIST YET.

    • NYBondLady

      Then what’s the problem? Isn’t more choice in health insurance better? If you want the coverage, great. If you don’t, you don’t have to pay for it.

    • CMJ

      Why should I pay extra for something my insurance used to cover?

    • NYBondLady

      That’s between you and your insurance company. And no one is saying that. Insurance companies change policies ALL THE TIME. And people have been losing coverage in areas previously covered. Hello, Obamacare.
      The insurance company isn’t doing this to gauge you, it’s to keep costs aligned with user risk/premiums paid.
      Again, “why should I pay extra…” is evidence that you think coverage is good only if it’s free/low/no cost. If you are not happy with your coverage and the cost of it, then go on the exchange or find another carrier.

    • CMJ

      But it’s not…it’s clearly between me, my insurance company, and Michigan legislators. It’s one thing when insurance companies adjust or add coverage….it’s another thing when a bunch of idiots decide what should be on my private insurance plan.

      I understand how insurance companies work and how they operate. But what I don’t get is why these lawmakers in MI are doing something that even the Republican governor VETOED. Party of small government my ass.

    • NYBondLady

      If your insurance company previously covered it and now it doesn’t, then your premiums should go down.
      Edit: What’s the difference between the Michigan legislature requiring a rider for abortion coverage, and the Federal government requiring abortion coverage?
      It’s clearly between you, your insurance company, Michigan, and Obamacare.

    • momjones

      This has nothing to do with Obamacare. Let me give you a specific example. My daughter is a public school teacher in the State of Michigan. Her insurance plan, for which she pays a monthly premium, does not cover elective abortions. If she gets pregnant, and her life is in danger, and she doesn’t have “Rape Insurance” (which it is being called), she will have to pay for the abortion, and most likely any other surgical or hospitalization costs. This could run thousands of dollars. This particular issue is what has many women in Michigan terrified. If she was raped and became pregnant, I am not sure if her insurance would have covered it anyway.
      Give it up on the Obamacare mantra, really.

    • NYBondLady

      I found a solution for you:
      Buy the insurance.

    • CMJ

      You mean the insurance riders that don’t exist?

    • NYBondLady

      True. I assume it’s pretty quick to underwrite these policies, though. A quick actuarial project. If it’s mandated, it will come.

    • VaginaWarrior

      Unfortunately, it is not mandated. This legislation has passed in 7 other states. In 5 of them, no such rider exists. Blue Cross Blue Shield, which is active in all of the other states and insures 70% of Michigan’s population, does not offer such coverage. So women have no option.
      Additionally, it is one thing if insurance companies change what they offer or raise their premiums. However, this is the government mandating what they are allowed to cover. PRIVATE companies, even if they wanted, cannot have this coverage as a part of their basic package.
      Finally, I would like people to stop saying, “Well, I don’t want my tax dollars going to support something like that.” I’m sorry, this is not a la carte. You don’t get to choose what your tax dollars pay for. I don’t get to say that I find war abhorrent and I don’t want my taxes to fund the military-industrial complex. I don’t get to say that I think the War on Drugs is pointless, so please use my money for something else. Except in the case of abortion, where some religous fanatics have thrown a temper tantrum. Then it’s okay to pick and choose. That’s just crap.

    • NYBondLady

      “Additionally, it is one thing if insurance companies change what they offer or raise their premiums. However, this is the government mandating what they are allowed to cover. PRIVATE companies, even if they wanted, cannot have this coverage as a part of their basic package. ”
      If this is true, then we should all be outraged at the government mandating what they are or are NOT allowed to cover. The whole premise for the ACA is to tell private companies and insurance companies HOW to apply coverage and to WHOM.
      And we should all be siding with Hobby Lobby, who is fighting the government over what coverage is in the basic package.
      I know I’m outraged.

    • CMJ

      YEAH! Screw the ACA for mandating insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, get rid of lifetime maximums, and offer free preventative care to men, women, and children.

    • VaginaWarrior

      I completely agree with your CMJ, but I also want to be clear that NBondLady is mixing together 2 different issues. If you have a problem with the ACA, that’s a discussion to have. However, the issue here in Michigan is entirely separate. Michigan does not have a state health exchange because the legislature refused to adopt one. So this has nothing to do with the insurance provided by the government. Also, there is something qualitatively different about saying, you MUST provide coverage for x and saying you are NOT ALLOWED to provide coverage for y.

    • CMJ

      Oh, I know that. I tried to say above (below?) that this has nothing to do with ACA…absolutely nothing.

      NYBondLady is throwing out numerous false equivalencies.

    • momjones

      So very woman of childbearing age should have to purchase a rider? Isn’t that discriminatory? OK, then…every man should purchase a rider for a prostrate exam.

    • NYBondLady

      Should and must are two very different things. This is why it’s a hot-button issue. Is it discriminatory to make men pay for abortion coverage, or is it discriminatory that women have to pay for additional coverage?
      I think it’s not right to mandate any coverage on anyone; People should have the option to choose their coverage.
      There are countless examples of men and women paying differently based on the difference between the sexes. Haircuts, dry cleaning, bras, jock straps…

    • NYBondLady

      Also,
      “Not to mention – abortion riders don’t even EXIST YET.”
      To me, this is the more salient point here. And I agree with you that this is a problem. But that’s not what the article is about.

  • Alexandra

    Yea I guess what they want to APPEAR TO BE DOING is only charging those people who will use the service for the service. In other words, I shouldn’t have to pay for “abortion coverage” if I’m pro-life.
    HOWEVER what they’re actually doing is causing a woman to publicly declare she may have an abortion, which causes all sorts of anger issues in me – I mean, maybe I’d never have one, but if I was raped all bets are off. I don’t know.
    It’s super horrible that this will now be on your “file” and what would be done with this information. Forget ever running for office (with the way this country works).
    Very sad.

  • TwentiSomething Mom

    I think I just sat and shook my head for like 2 minutes after reading this article. Fuck this shit is all I can say.

  • Alicia Kiner

    Yet another case where I say, government, get the FUCK out of my health insurance. No, I’m not going to have an abortion, but damn it, what right does anyone else have to sit there and tell me what I can or cannot do with my body, knowing my life. Who the hell do these people think they are? And how can a state law come in and override what Obamacare is putting in place? If that’s the case, then why haven’t all these states where the reps are totally against it, passed laws overriding every single point in the damn thing? It’s been a while since I took a government class, but last time I checked, they can’t do it. Michigan people, ya’ll need to take this to the Supreme Court. Your state just fucked up. And how they hell did they manage to allow a law that let’s them pass stuff without allowing the governor to have veto authority?

    • NYBondLady

      I agree. Toss Obamacare out the window. Let providers and users determine coverage.
      Also, coverage and access are very different things.

    • CMJ

      Unfortunately, abortions are not mandated to be covered under Obamacare. This has nothing to do with Obamacare. It is the overreach of the Party of “small government” to take away people’s private insurance coverage for elective abortions.