Michigan state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer

Michigan lawmaker reveals she is a rape survivor in powerful testimony against new "rape insurance" law

State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer shared her personal experience of sexual assault to show what's at stake in this law


Katie McDonough
December 13, 2013 2:01AM (UTC)

The Michigan Legislature voted on Wednesday to pass a measure to ban all public and private insurance plans in the state from covering abortion. As Salon has previously noted, the law will force women and employers to purchase a separate policy to cover abortion care, a rider that must be purchased in advance of becoming pregnant, even in cases of rape and incest.

Democratic lawmakers have vowed to press for a repeal, and fought hard to block it from passing in the Republican-controlled Legislature in the first place. One of those lawmakers, state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, abandoned her prepared remarks while testifying against the measure and bravely disclosed her own experience as a survivor of sexual assault to show what's really at stake with a law like this on the books.

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Her entire testimony is incredibly powerful and well worth your time, but Whitmer goes off script and shares her experience as a survivor of sexual assault -- and a mother to two daughters -- around 7:45.

"I am not the only woman in our state who has faced that horrible circumstances," she said while debating the measure. "I am not enjoying talking about it -- it is something I have hidden for a long time -- but I think you need to see the face of the women who you are impacting with this vote today."

Watch it here:


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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