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Michigan GOP Senate Candidate Silent On 'Rape Rider' Law

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The law, the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act, forces women and employers to buy an extra insurance rider to cover abortions even in the case of rape and incest. The law, which was previously vetoed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's (R), was passed by the Republican-controlled House and Senate to become law. A constitutional provision allows petitioners to send laws directly to the state legislature and circumvent the governor's approval.

The Republican Party is taking pains to make sure their candidates don't make mistakes in handling controversial issues like abortion. Recently the National Republican Congressional Committee met with incumbent candidates' aides to discuss how to handle such topics and avoid a situation like with Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), who asserted women could "shut down" a pregnancy naturally in the case of a "legitimate rape."

Peters seems be ready to capitalize on any possible GOP gaffe on the Michigan law, coming out strong against the measure.

"This law does not represent Michigan. It is not right. It is not just. And I promise to my daughters and to families across Michigan, your voice will be heard," Peters continued in an email to supporters. "We will fight back."

Though Land hasn't commented on the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act, she has been endorsed by Michigan Right to Life, which backed the law and collected over 300,000 signatures from Michigan voters to trigger a vote.

The law was also passed after a strongly emotional floor debate. At one point, Democratic State Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer shared that she had been raped 20 years ago during a speech arguing against the law.

"Thank God it didn't result in a pregnancy because I can't imagine going through what I went through and then having to consider what to do about an unwated pregnancy from an attacker," Whitmer said. "If this were law then and I had become pregnant, I would not be able to have coverage because of this. How extreme, how extreme does this measure need to be?"

About The Author

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Daniel Strauss is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He was previously a breaking news reporter for The Hill newspaper and has written for Politico, Roll Call, The American Prospect, and Gaper's Block. He has also interned at Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and The New Yorker. Daniel grew up in Chicago and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in History. At Michigan he helped edit Consider, a weekly opinion magazine. He can be reached at daniel@talkingpointsmemo.com.