April 2, 2013 — A Michigan law (HB 5711) that took effect on Sunday imposes several new restrictions on abortion providers, including that they obtain licenses from the state, the AP/Detroit Free Press reports (Eggert, AP/Detroit Free Press, 3/29).
HB 5711, which the Senate and House approved in 2012, requires 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 bans the use of telemedicine in reproductive health care, including for birth control.
Additionally, the bill requires facilities that provide 120 or more abortions per year to undergo inspections and pay an annual licensing fee to become certified as outpatient surgical centers. The provision would require many clinics to complete costly renovations to meet the same building standards as outpatient surgical facilities (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/3). A clinic can avoid the licensing requirement if it stops publicly advertising abortion services.
Impact of Licensing Law
Approximately sixteen of the state's 32 clinics will be required to obtain new licenses under the law. An additional four clinics are already licensed. However, the Legislature has only allocated enough funding for the state to perform reviews and licensing once every three years, not annually as the law mandates.
Lori Lamerand -- president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan -- said that while the licensing requirements "are reasonable enough that we can accommodate them," the law was implemented in an effort "to limit access and make abortions much more difficult for patients to get."
Although the law requires that clinics prominently post a notice that coercing a woman into having an abortion is illegal, no such crime exists in the state. Ed Rivet -- lobbyist for Right to Life of Michigan -- said he expects a bill on coercion will be proposed early this year (AP/Detroit Free Press, 3/29).