Kansas Lawmaker Says Women Should Plan Ahead For Rape: ‘I Have A Spare Tire’

The anti-choice tidal wave stemming from the 2010 elections has produced nearly 1,000 anti-choice bills this year alone. When Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) took office last year, he called on the state legislature to create “a culture of life” and, in the last 15 minutes of their annual session, they delivered. The Republican majority passed a law to ban insurance companies from offering abortion coverage in their general health plans, except when a woman’s life is at risk.

However, one pro-choice Republican, state Rep. Barbara Bollier, feared that Republicans were cutting off “a way for women to cover the cost of terminating pregnancies” — particularly when they’re unintended. During the House debate, she “questioned whether women would buy abortion-only policies long before they have crisis or unwanted pregnancies or are rape victims.” But state Rep. Pete DeGraaf (R) was ready with a shocking retort. DeGraaf said women should plan ahead for situations such as rape because, after all, “I have a spare tire on my car”:

During the House’s debate, Rep. Pete DeGraaf, a Mulvane Republican who supports the bill, told [Bollier]: “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 a pregnancy?”

DeGraaf drew groans of protest from some House members when he responded, “I have spare tire on my car.”“I also have life insurance,” he added. “I have a lot of things that I plan ahead for.”

DeGraaf’s belief that women should plan and prepare for their own rape is more than groan-worthy, it’s woefully out-of-touch. As Jezebel’s Margaret Hartmann notes, DeGraaf is basically telling sexual assault victims that “the state isn’t AAA” so a Kansas woman is responsible for the consequences of her attacker. And by comparing it to life insurance, DeGraaf goes further to insinuate that rape is as inevitable as death.


Unfortunately, this Boy Scout dismissal of rape and incest victims is as galling as it is common among the GOP. More and more Republican lawmakers are adopting the Sharron Angle “make lemonade” attitude towards pregnancies resulting from rape. This year, one Indiana lawmaker even suggested that women would fake their own rapes to secure an abortion procedure.

“There’s clearly a message here that women are dispensable,” said Kansas state Rep. Annie Kuether (D).”I’m sick and tired of being treated like a second-class citizen.”