Michigan’s Full Frontal Assault On Women
The state motto of Michigan is “Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice” which is Latin for “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.” But if you’re a woman in Michigan seeking an abortion, or even basic reproductive health care, you may need to start looking elsewhere.
Republican Representative Bruce Rendon introduced House Bill 5711, a sixty page omnibus bill that combines every restrictive piece of anti-choice legislation proposed this year into one horrible package. This legislation, based on the disputed notion that a fetus can feel pain, proposes the following:
-A ban on all abortions after twenty weeks with no exception for rape or incest, nor any exception for fetal deformities. The only exception is if the pregnancy is a threat to the life of the mother and even that is subject to extreme scrutiny.
-Establishes new licensing requirements for family planning centers, including requiring them to have full surgical facilities on the premises, even if the center does not provide surgical abortions.
-A ban on the practice of telemedicine. This would eliminate the option for a woman to consult with a doctor who is not an ob/gyn by phone or by internet in order to receive a prescription for an emergency abortion medication or for contraception.
-A ban on the use of methotrexate to treat ectopic pregnancies. This would require surgical treatment to end the pregnancy.
-A ban on the off-label use of medication in order to induce an abortion.
-Require all physicians who perform five or more abortions per month to carry $1,000,000 in liability insurance if they’ve received sanctions, been found non-compliant with hospital policies or been subject to more than 2 civil suits over the past seven years.
-Require physicians to determine if a woman has been coerced into having an abortion or is a victim of domestic violence.
-Require all fetal remains to be either cremated or buried if the fetus was over eight weeks old at the time of the abortion.
Seven separate bills have been combined to form this anti-choice monolith whose sole purpose is to criminalize abortion and punish the women seeking to obtain a constitutionally protected medical procedure. The ramifications of this bill, however, will go far beyond just abortion. Requiring women’s health clinics to build operating rooms and carry astronomically high insurance riders is a threat to their very existence. Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute summarized it perfectly. “Instead of trying to ban abortion, if you limit access to providers you have essentially banned abortion without overturning Roe.”
A public hearing on House Bill 5711 was held on June 7th. Reminiscent of Darrell Issa’s infamous snub of Sandra Fluke during the hearings on the Affordable Care Act contraception mandate, no pro-choice voices were allowed to speak. But that doesn’t mean that your voices can’t be heard. HB 5711 is tentatively scheduled for a full House vote on Tuesday, June 12th. If you live in Michigan, contact your local legislator and demand they vote no on the worst assault on women’s reproductive freedom that we’ve seen so far. The list of legislators and their contact information can be found here.
Get loud and stay loud. We will NOT be silenced.