Last time Michigan considered the bill debate was so contentious that Republicans barred two female Democratic House members from speaking on the floor after they used offensive words like “vagina” and “vasectomy.” And as Robin Marty reports, it was widely believed that the bill was dead until at least September, but now it could come up for vote as early as Wednesday.
The bill’s worst provisions include a ban on abortion after 20 weeks gestation, even in the cases of rape and incest. The bill also makes it a crime for anyone to “coerce” a woman into having an abortion and requires doctors give patients a questionnaire to help determine if the woman had been coerced before they can legally perform the procedure. Those same doctors are also forced to cover at least $1 million in liability insurance if they perform five or more abortions each month or have been subject to two or more civil suits in the past seven years.
Because it’s an omnibus bill HB 5711 is also riddled with TRAP regulations including a provision that requires any clinic that provides six or more abortions in a month or which which advertises abortion services be licensed as a “freestanding surgical outpatient facility” which means that even if a clinic doesn’t offer surgical abortions it would be required to have a full surgical suite on site.
The rush to pass the bill is likely tied to the fact that the original public uproar over the legislation has subsided. Lawmakers also will want to pass the bill before it is too close to the November election where additional scrutiny would likely grind passage to a halt. That means we have this small window to help the women of Michigan defeat this legislation that would force them to continue terminal pregnancies and drive doctors out of business.
Photo from AnyaLogic via flickr.