Taking the spare tire/abortion coverage analogy even further

A Kansas state representative has compared being raped to getting a flat tire, during a discussion on the Kansas House floor about banning private insurance companies from covering abortions on general health plans. Women could buy separate riders for abortion coverage, with some lawmakers insisting that if women want access to abortions, they need to pay extra in preparation for unintended pregnancies.

When Kansas state Rep. Barbara Bollier questioned expecting women to plan ahead for pregnancies they can’t control, e.g. in the case of rape, Rep. Peter DeGraaf replied, “I have [a] spare tire on my car.”

Feministing’s Maya addresses this best:

But DeGraaf’s comments also reveals just how absurd and disingenuous anti-choice opposition to insurance coverage for abortion is. “We do need to plan ahead, don’t we, in life?” Why, yes, indeed! And one way that we generally “plan ahead” for unexpected problems that may or may not befall us is by doing things like, oh I dunno, buying health insurance plans.

Also, another problem with this analogy (besides the insensitivity of comparing being raped to getting a flat tire)? DeGraaf talks about having a spare tire in his car as if he went and purchased it himself in case of an emergency (like they want women to separately purchase abortion coverage). Newsflash: Cars typically come equipped with spare tires (used cars might not, but for the sake of argument, let’s assume most people don’t have to buy their own spare tires). So I guess under DeGraaf’s analogy — that the auto industry put a spare tire in his trunk that makes him better prepared in case of an unintended flat tire — the health insurance industry should put abortion coverage in general health plans so women are better prepared in case of unintended pregnancies?

But I could see anti-choicers taking issue with this idea — for many of them, you don’t fall into the category of incest, rape, or your health is in danger (and even some anti-choicers don’t think abortion should be allowed in those scenarios, either), then you shouldn’t be allowed to choose abortion. You had unprotected sex, so now you must deal with the consequences. What if access to spare tires worked that way? You saw that pothole in the road but you drove over it anyway — POOF! Your spare tire is no longer accessible because your flat tire was not caused by circumstances outside your control, but by your own decisions.

Things happen that we don’t anticipate will happen, whether in or out of our control, and it makes more sense to be prepared than not to be prepared. It also makes more sense not to make it difficult to be prepared. Or maybe the difference between a flat tire and an unintended pregnancy is that an old white guy never has to worry about having the latter? Just sayin’.


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