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Mich. House Approves Sweeping Antiabortion Bill, Stalls on 20-Week Ban

Mich. House Approves Sweeping Antiabortion Bill, Stalls on 20-Week Ban

June 14, 2012 — The Michigan House on Wednesday voted 70-39 to approve a bill (HB 5711) that would place several new restrictions on abortion providers, the Detroit Free Press reports. Six Democrats joined 64 Republicans in voting to advance the measure to the Senate.

The bill would increase insurance and licensing requirements for abortion providers and bar physicians from using telemedicine to provide medication abortion. 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 (Gray, Detroit Free Press, 6/13).

The House opted not to vote on two other antiabortion bills (HB 5712, HB 5713), including one that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy that includes no exceptions for cases of rape, incest or fetal anomalies. Ari Adler, a spokesperson for House Speaker Jase Bolger (R), said lawmakers first want to verify that the ban is constitutional.

The Legislature adjourns on Thursday for a summer recess (Livengood, Detroit News, 6/13). The Senate likely will consider the remaining bills sometime in September, according to MLive.

Reaction to Vote

Rebecca Mastee of the Michigan Catholic Conference, which supports the bills, said HB 5711 "simply contains common sense measures to hold the abortion industry accountable, and more importantly, to help protect the health and safety of women."

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan Chair Lori Lamerand said, "It's clear this bill is about politics -- not women's health or safety." PPAM has called the bill "the biggest assault on women's health in our state's history" (Martin, MLive, 6/13).

On Tuesday, about 200 Planned Parenthood supporters rallied at the state Capitol to protest the three bills (AP/NECN, 6/12). Another rally is planned for Thursday, according to MLive (MLive, 6/13).