Remember those Michigan lawmakers who were silenced for saying the word “vagina”? The bill those women legislators wanted to discuss has passed the Michigan House and is now headed to the full Michigan Senate. If it passes and is signed into law, it will become virtually impossible to find a clinic in Michigan that can meet state regulations for performing abortions.
The bill is called HB-5711, and it would force women who have abortions to pay for the burial, cremation, or interment of any fetus 10-weeks or older, a first in the nation that would create unbearable costs for women, including those who have been raped. For fetuses at 20 weeks gestation, a death certificate must be obtained, subjecting the woman to potential public scrutiny at a time of private stress.1
Additionally, any doctors who perform abortions would have to make costly and unnecessary renovations to their clinics — even if they only administer the morning-after pill.2 The dramatic effect of all this needless regulation is the closure of most Michigan health centers that provide abortions, and the remaining ones will be forced to charge much higher fees for services that one in three women will need some time in their life.
Tell Republican State Senators: HB-5711 will drive doctors out of Michigan and close family planning clinics. Say no to this bill and protect women’s access to the health care.
We have to stop this radical erosion of women’s access to healthcare masquerading as “reasonable restrictions.” The state Senate will consider this bill after it returns to session on August 15, and we need to show a determined opposition as soon as possible.
Under the bill, some physicians performing more than five abortions per month must carry $1 million in liability insurance. And it completely bans the best method for many rural women to access medication abortions through telemedicine practices.3 Michigan women are already suffering from too few obstetricians and gynecologists4 — especially in rural areas — and if HB-5711 gets passed and signed by the governor, some doctors will quit providing abortions, leave the state, or simply retire.
The committee that considered this bill in the Michigan House heard testimony from 10 people. Nine of them were against the bill, including a board-certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist. Just one person testified in favor of the bill: the head of an anti-abortion group.5 Despite this testimony, the committee passed the bill. And the fact that these requirements are directed only at clinics where abortions are performed, a procedure that is less invasive than many procedures done routinely in doctor’s offices, shows that this has nothing to do with women’s health or safety, and everything to do with politics.
It’s still possible that with enough pressure and publicity, we can slow or stop this extreme and dangerous bill from getting out of the Michigan Senate and onto the Governor’s desk for signature. But we have to act fast to build the necessary momentum before the legislature returns to session on August 15.
Tell your State Senator: Reject HB-5711 and stop the war on women’s access to reproductive health care in Michigan.