I wanted to share a speech I intended on delivering to my Republican colleagues on the floor of the Michigan Senate today as the offensive new "rape insurance" law they passed has now taken effect. Unfortunately, they adjourned the Senate today without giving me my constitutional right to give this statement, but while they may not have wanted to hear it, I wanted to share exactly what I had planned on saying to them.
I rise today to remind my Republican colleagues of what today is.
As of today, your rape insurance proposal is now the law of the land in Michigan.
Thanks to what every single one of you on that side of the aisle did, rape victims in Michigan that become pregnant from their attack will now be told by their doctor - and their private insurance company - that they’re on their own.
Yes, a victim of a sexual assault in Michigan will now have to face the reality that their Republican legislators – those who decry government involvement in health care on a daily basis - passed a law that does exactly that. Except it only applies to women, so apparently that doesn’t count.
And if taking away the rights of rape victims weren’t enough, thanks to what you did, Michigan women with wanted pregnancies who are told by their doctors that something has gone horribly wrong and their pregnancy must be terminated will be told that their government doesn’t think that’s necessary medical care.
They too will now face a reality that you have prevented their private insurance company from covering the exact care that’s needed, that their doctor recommends, and is in the best interest of their own health.
In short, it’s a whole new era of unequal health care you’ve created here today, an era in which women are treated as second class citizens and told their male dominated legislature and a the extremist special interest group that funds their election campaigns know far better about the types of health care coverage they should have than their own doctor does.
So I have to ask, why aren’t you speaking out proudly about this today?
Is this not exactly what you wanted?
Is this not exactly what your vote was in favor of?
Or is it because, god forbid, you actually know what you did is wrong? That you know your vote that created this disgusting law was the absolute wrong vote to make? That if you could go back in time, maybe you’d put the health and the rights of your wives and your daughters ahead of what Right to Life told you to do that day?
I know that’s true for at least some of you.
Some of you told me yourselves in private shortly after the vote was taken that you wished you had the courage to vote against this disgusting bill.
You know who you are. I don’t need to name any names here today. But if you came to me that day seeking absolution for what you did, I’m here to tell you that on behalf of the millions of women and young girls you belittled that day and whose lives you’ve hurt as a result, the answer is no.
The people of Michigan asked you not to create this law. You didn’t listen.
My colleagues and I shared deeply personal stories - stories that none of us should have had to speak about publicly but felt compelled to in an effort to get you to actually think about what you were about to do.
We tried in vain to show you that your actions would have very real and very serious consequences on countless women throughout our state, including some of us right here in this very building.
But you didn’t care. You didn’t even have the courage to stand up and respond, or utter a single word out loud as to why you were about to pass this terrible law.
You instead sat silent, content to push your voting buttons and cash the campaign check you’d soon be receiving from those who were telling you to do this.
And so, here we are today. Rape insurance is now the law of the land, and not a single one of you wants to mark the occasion. So I’m doing it for you.
As this horrible law takes effect today, I want you to remember what you did.
The next time you read a story in the news about a woman being raped, remember that you turned your back on her and told her that she doesn’t deserve every available medical option that’s available to her.
When you hear of a woman facing a difficult pregnancy, one that may sadly end prematurely, remember that you told her that her health and well-being is less important than your ability to get the endorsement of a radical special-interest group.
And when women from across the state ask you why you would do something so offensive, remember that you had a chance to stand up for them and put their interests ahead of the absolute worst of what politics can be, and you chose not to.
I’m proud to know that I come here every day and fight to make Michigan a better place for my 2 daughters. But I’m disgusted to know that they’re now growing up in a state in which this kind of misogyny is now the law of the land.
I had to agree when I heard Rachel Maddow say this about our legislature just last night: “Over the last few years, Michigan state government has become way more insane than anyone nationally gives them credit for.”
Well, you may not be getting enough credit for it nationally, but across our state, the people know this exact kind of insanity happening here at their Capitol all too well.
I’m going to keep fighting on their behalf, and I can promise you that there are a whole lot of people out there ready to keep on fighting with me.
I haven’t forgotten what today means. Nor have the people of Michigan.
And you better believe we’re going to remember it November as well.
Michigan Senate Democratic Leader