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Mich. House Sends Sweeping Antiabortion Bill to Gov. Snyder

Mich. House Sends Sweeping Antiabortion Bill to Gov. Snyder

December 14, 2012 — The Michigan House on Thursday approved legislation (HB 5711) that would impose several new restrictions on abortion, although lawmakers removed one controversial provision relating to the disposal of fetal remains, the Detroit Free Press reports.

The bill, which the Senate approved on Wednesday, now heads to Gov. Rick Snyder (R), who is expected to sign it into law, according to his spokesperson, Sara Wurfel (Erb/Gray, Detroit Free Press, 12/14).

The bill would require physicians to determine if a woman has been coerced into seeking an abortion and deliver a written "risk assessment" to patients at least 24 hours prior to an abortion. The bill also would ban the use of telemedicine in reproductive health care, including for birth control.

Additionally, the bill would require facilities that provide 120 or more abortions per year to undergo inspections and pay an annual licensing fee -- currently $238 -- to become certified as outpatient surgical centers (Women's Health Policy Report, 12/13). The provision would require many clinics to complete costly renovations to meet the same building standards as outpatient surgical facilities (Flesher, AP/Atlanta-Journal Constitution, 12/14).

Fetal Remains Provision Removed

A controversial requirement that an aborted fetus be buried, cremated or interred was removed from the final legislation.

Mary Pollock, legislative liaison for the National Organization for Women, said the provision's original language "was an attempt to shame women ... and to make the woman think she was committing murder."

The bill's supporters said the provision was intended to ensure that fetal remains -- whether from an abortion or a miscarriage -- are handled properly.

Religious Refusal Bill Fails

Separately, a bill that would have allowed health care providers to refuse to provide health care services that they object to for moral or religious reasons failed to come up for a vote, meaning the measure is finished for the year (Detroit Free Press, 12/14).