The Worst Attack on Women’s Health in Michigan History

Posted on June 6, 2012


ACLU of Michigan, June 6, 2012 by Angi Becker Stevens

Last Thursday, Republican Representative Bruce Rendon introduced HB 5711, a piece of legislation that takes every attack on women’s health in Michigan and combines them into the greatest assault on reproductive rights in Michigan history.

This dangerous attack is moving rapidly and is scheduled to go before the House Committee on Health Policy tomorrow at 9 am.

Take action: Urge your representative to defend Michigan women and oppose this legislation.

These bills endanger nearly all aspects of reproductive health care by targeting doctors and creating expensive regulations in the hopes of shutting down health centers that provide abortion services. Here’s a breakdown of just what this bill includes:

Requiring politics, not medicine, in the examination room

Just like the coercive abortion act that we’ve talked about before, HB 5711 would require that doctors question women for evidence that they are being coerced into having an abortion.

Though supporters claim this bill would protect women, it offers no protection to women coerced into continuing an unwanted pregnancy. It would also institute mandatory “coercion screenings” for all abortion-seeking women, creating another step in the already lengthy process of obtaining an abortion in Michigan.

Preventing women in rural areas from accessing care

Considering that 83% of Michigan counties have no abortion providers, it is essential that doctors are able to prescribe abortion drugs through a telephone consultation. Studies have shown that the practice of using telemedicine is safe, effective, and often the best choice for women living in rural areas far from health care providers.

However, HB 5711 would require a physician’s presence for abortions via the use of prescription drugs, regardless that such travel and time away from a job is impossible for women already in dire economic circumstances.

Burdening abortion providers with new and expensive regulations

Anti-choice legislation often attempts to ensure that abortion care providers lose their licenses and for clinics to be shut down by creating costly, unnecessary and cumbersome rules and regulations. HB 5711 includes several such regulations including:

  • new procedures for disposal of remains that could further traumatize women experiencing a miscarriage,
  • a requirement that would increase the requirements for malpractice insurance and create additional cost for doctors,
  • and reclassifying many women’s health clinics as “outpatient surgical centers,” making them fall subject to increased regulation and making the operation of such health centers much more costly, likely forcing many to close their doors.

This package of bills would have disastrous consequences for reproductive freedom in Michigan, putting women’s lives at risk and making it harder for everyone to access health services including lifesaving cancer screenings.

Nearly 40 years after Roe v. Wade, it is shocking that men and women must still fight a constant battle to keep the ability to choose when and if to become parents a personal decision.

Take action: Urge your representative to oppose this legislation.

This is an ACLU of Michigan Legislative Update. Let us know if this is useful or if you’d like to see changes. Share your thoughts: action@aclumich.org

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Posted in: Michigan