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Kansas lawmaker's comments about rape insurance anger women's rights groups

May 25, 2011|By Denise Hnytka | KWCH 12 Eyewitness News

(WICHITA, Kan) — A Kansas State Representative is under fire after comments he made about insurance restrictions on abortion.

In a recent House debate, Rep. Pete DeGraaf (R-Mulvane) was quoted during a conversation with Rep. Barbara Bollier (R-Mission Hills).

The House was discussing insurance coverage for abortions. The point was made that proposed coverage restrictions did not make exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. DeGraaf suggested that women purchase separate abortion-only policies. Bollier questioned him about the likelihood of women doing this.

Rep. Pete DeGraaf said, "We do need to plan ahead, don't we, in life?"

Bollier asked him, "And so women need to plan ahead for issues that they have no control over with pregnancy?"

DeGraaf then responded, "I have a spare tire on my car." "I also have life insurance," he added. "I have a lot of things that I plan ahead for."

Kansas NOW, a women's rights group, is speaking out about the comments. It is asking women show their oppostition by donating $5 to the organization. It plans to buy and personally deliver model sized “spare” tires to Representative DeGraaf.

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DeGraaf wouldn't agree to an on camera interview, insisting that his comments were simply taken out of context. He told reporter Denise Hnytka on the phone that people wouldn't need the coverage if they weren't predisposed to killing their children. He also said his wife and daughter would never need an abortion, even if they became pregnant as the result of rape.

DeGraaf's comments and response anger Kansas NOW official, Kari Ann Rinker.

"It is like telling people to get murder insurance," she said. "It is a violent attack no one would expect to be a victim of."

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