September 21, 2012 — The Michigan Legislature likely will wait until after the November election to hold a final vote on an abortion bill (HB 5711) that drew national attention this summer, Michigan Live reports (Martin, Michigan Live, 9/19).
The legislation, which would impose multiple requirements on abortion clinics and providers, sparked an outcry on the House floor in June when state Rep. Lisa Brown (D) used the word "vagina" in a speech. Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas (R) gaveled Brown out of order, and she was barred from speaking on the floor the next day, which drew protests from women's health advocates.
The bill has been approved by the House and a Senate committee. Under the measure, clinics would have to obtain licenses, and some providers who perform more than six abortions per month would need to carry $1 million in malpractice insurance. Additionally, the bill would require clinic workers to ask women if they have been forced to obtain an abortion, and it would ban the use of web cameras to remotely prescribe or provide medication abortion drugs. Further, fetal remains would have to be buried or cremated by a funeral director who has a state permit (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/27).
The bill is among several that could be considered for action as the 2011-2012 legislative session comes to an end. Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has often said he would prefer to focus on economic and budget issues, rather than divisive social issues.
According to Michigan Live, Snyder's sentiment is increasingly resonating with lawmakers as the Nov. 6 election approaches. Members of the Michigan House, the state's seats in the U.S. House and a U.S. Senate seat are all up for re-election (Michigan Live, 9/19).