Rape Insurance?


GOP War on Women, Michigan Edition

After the 2010 elections swept Republicans into power in legislatures across the country, they set about passing an unprecedented number of restrictions — 135 in 2011 and 2012 and 84 more so far this year — on abortion rights.

Michigan has been no exception. A year ago, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed one of the nation’s most extreme anti-abortion laws.

Now lawmakers have used a quirk in Michigan law to push through a bill mandating rape insurance. Yes, you read that right: rape insurance.

ThinkProgressTara Culp-Ressler explains:

On Wednesday evening, both chambers of the Michigan legislature approved a measure that will require women to purchase an additional insurance rider if they want abortion coverage, even in cases when the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. It will take effect 90 days after lawmakers adjourn, making Michigan the ninth state to restrict coverage of abortion on the private insurance market — an increasingly popular method of imposing barriers to the procedure.

Opponents decried the legislation as a “rape insurance” bill, pointing out that victims of sexual assault would be forced to pay out-of-pocket for an abortion procedure unless they had thought ahead and purchased a separate rider. In the lead-up to the vote, State Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D) called the bill “one of the most misogynistic proposals” that has ever been up for debate in the legislature, adding that forcing women to consider purchasing extra insurance in case they’re raped in the future is “truly despicable.”

And Republicans endorsed the measure even after their own colleagues shared their personal stories of sexual assault and miscarriage. Last year, two female Michigan state representatives were temporarily banned from speaking on the Michigan House floor after they dared speak the word “vagina” during the debate on a different draconian anti-abortion bill.

Snyder had vetoed the bill last year but it will become law this year without his signature because “citizen-initiated” bills (bills advanced following a signature gathering drive) approved by the legislature don’t require his approval. The legislature could have disapproved, in which case the measure would’ve been put before Michigan voters in 2014. Instead, they endorsed the offensive and cruel notion of rape insurance.

Harsh anti-abortion measures like this are just one example of a nationwide campaign by right-wing activists to impose their own theological doctrines onto others using public policy.

BOTTOM LINE: If Republicans don’t want to be accused of waging a war on women, they should stop passing bill after bill that attack women and their families.

10 Crazy Things the Right Did This Week

By  The summer may be over, but it’s never the end of crazy season when it comes to conservatives–from the silly to the serious.

1. Republicans Threaten To Push Nation Into Default Unless Obama Agrees To Delay Obamacare For One Year: Ironically, the proposition could actually increase the deficit by billions of dollars.
2. Secret Koch Fund Decries ‘Corporate Welfare’ And Stimulus But Funds Their Top Defender: A tax-exempt group claims to fight runaway stimulus spending and “corporate welfare” but gave millions to the Chamber of Commerce, perhaps the top backer of those programs.
3. GOP Tries To Sink Uncontroversial Energy Bill With An Obamacare Amendment: An energy efficiency bill would be the first major energy legislation passed in the Senate since 2007, but Republican amendments aiming to repeal Obamacare threaten to sink a long-awaited bill that has broad bipartisan support.
4. Heritage Puts Anti-Obamacare Billboard In Times Square After State Announces Huge Premium Drop: The message is just the latest political stunt from the organization that first developed the individual health care mandate and later touted Obamacare-like reforms in Massachusetts.
5. The Origins Of An Epidemic: How Right-Wing Religious Communities Give Measles A Chance To Spread: A recent measles outbreak in Texas was traced to an evangelical church that preached against vaccines. That’s not an isolated incident.
6. Five Reasons Congress Can’t Blame The Calendar For Delaying Immigration Reform: House Republicans are telling the media they simply don’t have time to pass immigration reform this year. They’re wrong.
7. Benghazi Conspiracy Rally On Capitol Hill Attracts Dozens Of People: It was meant to be a rallying moment for thousands of conservatives to demand the truth about Benghazi. Less than a hundred bothered to show up.
8. Conservatives Pressure Textbook Publishers To Downplay Existence Of Climate Change, Evolution: Prominent creationists with little scientific background or training are asking publishers include disclaimers about existing scientific theories.
9. Meet The Maryland Republicans Who Want To Secede:  The group, which calls itself the Western Maryland Initiative, is dissatisfied with the fact that, in a democracy, people with minority views are frequently outvoted by people with more common views.
10. Mitch McConnell Exploits Syria Conflict For Campaign Fundraising: The letter opened with the claim that Mitch McConnell “does not politicize issues of national security” but went on to argue that the senator’s opposition to the authorization for use of force is “a ringing example of why we need to keep Mitch fighting for us in the United States Senate.”


By  CAP Action War Room

GOP Blockade of Nominees Collapses

Today was supposed to be D-Day when it came to the so-called nuclear option in the Senate — a relatively minor change in the Senate rules to stop a minority of senators from using the filibuster as a means of nullifying democratically created government agencies and functions that they object to purely for ideological reasons.

After a three and a half hour meeting last night and ongoing negotiations through this morning, senators announced a deal to avert changing the Senate rules. Nevertheless, the deal represents a huge victory for Democrats and an almost unconditional surrender on the part of Senate Republicans.

Here’s the main elements of the deal:

  • The president’s nominees to head the Department of Labor, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Export-Import Bank, and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will be confirmed without delay.
  • Two of the president’s current nominees to the National Labor Relations Board will be withdrawn; however, Republicans agree in advance to confirm any two nominees of the president’s choosing before the Senate recesses in August.
  • Democrats retain the right to revisit changing the filibuster rules on executive branch nominees at any time should Republicans once again begin a blockade.

Interestingly, Senate Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY) had offered a deal last night that would have also confirmed the current group of seven nominees, but would’ve required Democrats to promise to never again threaten to change the rules. Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) wisely rejected this offer in favor of the offer outlined above made by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and a group of breakaway Republicans.

Real progress has already been made as a result of this deal. CFPB nominee Richard Cordray had been prevented from receiving an up-or-down vote by Senate Republicans for 730 days. Following today’s deal, a cloture motion on his nomination passed 71-29 and a final confirmation vote is expected later today.

Hopefully this new spirit of cooperation from Senate Republicans will also extend to other areas. The president deserves up-or-down votes on his judicial nominations, which have also faced unprecedented levels of obstruction and delay from some Senate Republicans. In particular, we look forward to timely votes on the president’s three nominations to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

BOTTOM LINE: Today’s deal does not fix all of the problems with the Senate, but it represents a huge victory for consumers, workers, and anyone who cares about clean air and water. In addition, the deal underscores that a unified Democrat caucus can stand up to unprecedented Republican obstructionism and get results.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed

Seven mind-blowing moments from the first interview with Zimmerman juror B37.

GOP attacks on abortion rights likely to backfire.

The real reason why GOP leaders are terrified of filibuster reform.

The death and life of the party?

Reuters exposed: wire service is openly hostile to climate reporting, top editor doubts climate science.

The mundane, yet potent weapons of today’s anti-abortion movement.

House Republicans will vote tomorrow to leave an extra 13 MILLION people without health insurance.

Latest abomination in North Carolina: GOP plan to cut taxes on the rich, raise them on the poor.

Stevie Wonder to stop performing in Florida and other states with shoot first Stand Your Ground laws.

1.4 Million Americans : Want #GunViolence to STOP

Last Thursday in Washington, D.C., I joined 30 OFA volunteers and three
gun violence survivors as they delivered our petition to Congress with
more than 1.4 million signatures — including yours. It was an amazing
day, and a reminder that we’re nowhere near done with this fight.

What impressed me most on Thursday was getting a chance to talk with survivors like Pam Simon, Sami Rahamim, and Lori Haas.

You’ll see in the video that these folks have turned their personal pain
into action, and a force for good. It’s enough to change hearts and

OFA volunteers got a chance to meet with a few leaders in Congress, like
Rep. Mike Thompson, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, and House
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who asked all of us to keep fighting —
and even gave folks a few tips on how to keep the pressure on their
fellow lawmakers.

Senator Reid even tweeted: “Today, we received a petition from over 1.4
million Americans who demand action on background checks. This fight is
not over.”

I am more confident than ever that, if we keep working and making our
voices heard, we can and will win this. The petition delivery was a big
moment — but it’s not the end of this fight.

Watch the video and please, pass it along to anyone else who should see it and ask them to say they’re in, too:

Harry Reid Senate Dems and the Headlines : May 2013


Republicans Were For Passing A Budget Before They Were Against It

Statement On April Employment Report