Michigan Gets Worst Anti-Choice Bill in Nation


It’s times like this that I miss being the editor of the Michigan Messenger. This is a story we’d be all over. Republicans in the Michigan legislature have introduced what is being called the broadest attack on reproductive rights anywhere in the country — and it’s being fast-tracked for passage.

A massive, 60-page omnibus bill that drastically limits abortion access and could shut down all abortion clinics in the state is being rushed through the Michigan State House of Representatives on Thursday.

The bill was introduced just last week, but lawmakers held a hearing for it on Thursday morning and are sending it to a full House vote on Thursday afternoon. A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan said about 90 people showed up at the Health Policy Committee hearing to testify against the bill, but Committee Chair Gail Haines (R-Waterford) abruptly ended the hearing and cut off all testimony after a Michigan Right to Life spokesperson and only a few others were able to speak.

“We had a lot of doctors there and members of the committee asking questions about what the full ramifications of a lot of these provisions could be, and quite frankly a lot of folks couldn’t answer them,” said Meghan Groen, a spokesperson for PPMSM.

In the Michigan legislature, committee chairs have total control. They can allow one side to speak on a bill and no one else if they want to. Here’s what the bill would do:

Specifically, the omnibus bill would criminalize all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, without exceptions for rape victims, the health of the woman or in cases where there is a severe fetal anomaly. It would require health centers that provide abortions to have surgery rooms, even when they don’t provide surgical abortions. It would require doctors to be present for medication abortions and to screen women for “coercion” before providing an abortion, and it would create new regulations for the disposal of fetal remains.

The bill would also ban “telemedicine” abortions, or the use of technology to prescribe medication for abortion services and the morning-after pill.

“It could shut down most reproductive health centers in the state of Michigan,” said Groen. “It’s the most extreme legislation we’re seeing anywhere in the country.”

The bills passed the committee on Thursday and will certainly pass the full House soon. The Republicans have total control over both chambers of the legislature. The wildcard is Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican who is generally not a social conservative and, I’m sure, wishes this would not hit his desk. It’s possible that he could veto some of those bills, but I wouldn’t bet on it. And even if he does, those vetoes could be overridden because the Republicans have such total control.

Comments

  1. d cwilson says

    It’s ironic that our “small government conservatives” are now doing exactly what they’ve accused liberals of doing for decades: Trying to impose regulations that are so burdensome that they’ll effectively force organizations to close their doors.

    But I’m sure it’s all about job creation.

  2. eric says

    It would require health centers that provide abortions to have surgery rooms, even when they don’t provide surgical abortions.

    Uh? Okay I know the real reason for this (make it so difficult to operate a clinic that nobody does it). But I’m curious to know what public reason the bill’s authors or supporters give for it. Because I can’t think of any reasonable ones.

  3. Doug Little says

    …But I’m sure it’s all about job creation.
    Either that, or this is for the troops.

    It’s what George Washington would have wanted.

  4. Dennis N says

    it’s being fast-tracked for passage.

    Haven’t they been doing that with everything recently, to skirt some rules?

  5. jakc says

    Over the last 20 years, moderates have been purged from the ranks things like banning abortionsof state Republican legislators. You don’t find Republicans who are pro-choice, or who get along with unions or who are not reflexively for tax cuts (most strongly for tax cuts that favor the wealthy). Moderate has been redefined to mean someone willing to make compromises. At the same time, Republicans have been successful in attracting the votes of moderates, in part because many of those people don’t expect conservatives to be successful in doing things like banning abortions. Maybe its time to stop mourning and start organizing.

  6. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Maybe its time to stop mourning and start organizing.

    We have been for some time. But I suppose condescending admonishments are much easier than actually doing something.

  7. ema says

    The bill would also ban “telemedicine” abortions, or the use of technology to prescribe medication for abortion services and the morning-after pill.

    So you can no longer call in/email a prescription for birth control for a drug with a time-dependent effectiveness. If this isn’t top of the line public health policy, I don’t know what is. Well, maybe the mandatory surgery room for places that don’t provide surgical abortions. That requirement is just brilliant.

  8. josephmccauley says

    Remember, men are stupid or obstinate about women’s rights (especially healthcare, which they confuse with wanton behavior). We need some Sabine action in Michigan to wake some people up!

  9. Who Knows? says

    The GOP’s tagline ought to be, “Out of the board rooms! Into the bedrooms!”

  10. Michael Heath says

    Ed writes:

    The wildcard is Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican who is generally not a social conservative and, I’m sure, wishes this would not hit his desk. It’s possible that he could veto some of those bills, but I wouldn’t bet on it. And even if he does, those vetoes could be overridden because the Republicans have such total control.

    In Rick Snyder’s bid to get elected he made the obligatory pilgrimage during his campaign to southwestern Michigan where many of this country’s most powerful Christianists reside. They’re predominately Calvinists (Dutch Reformed) who financially support making our country a theocracy or least more like a theocracy. That pilgrimage also included a Snyder-penned op-ed which focused on his proclaiming himself to be anti-abortion rights and at least a covert willingness to be a partisan opposed to the uppity black in the White House. The latter was via Mr. Snyder’s lies in that same op-ed about Obamacare, which demonstrated he too could be a Liar for Jesus® when it came to loyalty to the tribe.

    This is Mr. Synder’s first real test when it comes to determining whether Rick the legendary citizen-governor exists relative to his just being another rookie politician with fealty only to his own ambitions. I have no idea how he’ll play this out. I hope he’ll veto the bill or get it shelved in the Senate, the safe bet is that he’ll play it out the same way Obama’s played out the state secrets doctrine controversy.

  11. cry4turtles says

    The more of this stuff I read, the more it becomes apparent that America is totally fucked. The Republicans are going to bring about the failure of the American experiment. My hubby and I have seriously discussed moving out of here when our parents are gone. If only I knew where to go?

  12. birgerjohansson says

    cry4turtles: “My hubby and I have seriously discussed moving out of here when our parents are gone. If only I knew where to go?”

    The issue has been discussed at Pharyngula.
    Canada has not yet been destroyed by the far right.
    The Scandinavian countries have all you can ask for (health insurance, good standard of living, non-corrupt politics) as well as near-total absence of christianists.
    New Zealand is nice, too. Australia is nice, but has some redneckification of the politicians.

  13. Tualha says

    That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    I’m talking to you, citizens of Michigan. You don’t like the government you have? Then fucking change it.

  14. rork says

    For those of you wondering, the true intent of this legislation is to protect our little women from unsafe practices.
    We must thank the old white guys for looking out for the weaker sex. God bless them.

  15. Jordan Genso says

    Tualha

    I’m talking to you, citizens of Michigan. You don’t like the government you have? Then fucking change it.

    Any suggestions as to how we can do so? I’m trying to do what I can (to alter the current governmental makeup), but I want to see if your methods would differ from mine.

  16. Tualha says

    Jordan Genso:

    Any suggestions as to how we can do so? I’m trying to do what I can (to alter the current governmental makeup), but I want to see if your methods would differ from mine.

    There’s your first mistake: “I”. You’re not going to get anything done by yourself. Find other people who are pissed off about it, form a group, organize. Decide where to concentrate your efforts: do you want to defeat your local representative and vote in someone who’ll fight to repeal this? Do you want to publicize the problem statewide and get tens of thousands of people demonstrating in Lansing?

    Prepare yourself for a long struggle, whatever you do.

  17. Tualha says

    In the short run, I suppose this damned thing will pass and will have to be fought in the courts. That will require plaintiffs with standing, and money. The ACLU will probably organize it. That would be one avenue you could pursue.

    In the long run, well, basically you have to educate Michiganders about the issue, and/or try to get more liberal Democrats in office (preferably women). All of which is difficult and requires a lot of organization and effort. The bad guys are already well organized, which is why they keep winning.

    Of course another option is to just tell Michigan it can fuck itself and take your skills and taxes to a more liberal state. If enough people did that, it would end up like Mississippi, poor and uneducated and a lousy economy. Which is tough on the people still living there, but if you can’t persuade enough people to your way of thinking, what else can you do? Keep going to court every few years to strike down yet another bad law?

  18. Jordan Genso says

    Tualha

    Find other people who are pissed off about it, form a group, organize.

    Check.

    Decide where to concentrate your efforts: do you want to defeat your local representative and vote in someone who’ll fight to repeal this?

    I will be running for office in the future, as my locally elected officials are on the wrong side of most issues (and that may be a generous analysis).

    In the long run, well, basically you have to educate Michiganders about the issue, and/or try to get more liberal Democrats in office (preferably women).

    Working on it. While Rep. Bill Rogers is a difficult incumbent to defeat, I am volunteering for Shanda Willis’s campaign to do just that.

    Of course another option is to just tell Michigan it can fuck itself and take your skills and taxes to a more liberal state.

    I don’t really consider that an option at this point.

    It does look like you and I are in agreement. I have been encouraging as many people as I can to become politically active. I’ve found the county Democratic Party to be an organization that welcomes me and my ideas, and I think that while some people here may disagree with certain policies from the larger Democratic Party, I think they’ll find their local parties are made up of people just like them.

  19. Who Knows? says

    I saw elsewhere that this bill was tabled after protests yesterday. Is this so?

  20. Michael Heath says

    Who Knows? writes:

    I saw elsewhere that this bill was tabled after protests yesterday. Is this so?

    The Detroit Free Press reported this morning that the State Senate wouldn’t consider the bill until Sept.

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