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Mich. House Panel Advances Package of Abortion Restrictions

Mich. House Panel Advances Package of Abortion Restrictions

June 8, 2012 — The Michigan House Health Policy Committee on Thursday advanced a three-bill package (HB 5711, HB 5712, HB 5713) that would impose several new abortion restrictions, including a ban on the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the Detroit News reports. The 20-week ban does not include exceptions for cases of rape, incest or fetal anomalies. It does include a narrow exception for when a woman's life is at risk, according to bill sponsor Rep. Deb Shaughnessy (R) (Livengood, Detroit News, 6/8).

The package could go before the full House next week and, if approved, would move on to the Senate. A spokesperson for Gov. Rick Snyder (R) said he would "closely review and evaluate the proposals as they go through the legislative process" (AP/WXYZ, 6/8).

The legislation would require clinics that provide six or more abortion procedures monthly to be licensed as freestanding surgical centers. Under current Michigan law, clinics are required to be licensed if more than half of their patients receive abortion care.

The package also would ban physicians from using telemedicine to provide medication abortion (Detroit News, 6/8). The bill also would impose new requirements for disposing of fetal remains and require health providers to screen women to see if they had been coerced into seeking abortions (AP/WXYZ, 6/8).

Meghan Groen, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan, said the legislation "could shut down most reproductive health centers in the state," adding, "It's the most extreme legislation we're seeing anywhere in the country" (Bassett, Huffington Post, 6/7).

Supporters of the bills called the provisions common-sense and overdue, according to the AP/WXYZ. They said the measures will improve women's safety (AP/WXYZ, 6/8).