Thursday, June 14, 2012

Michigan, the Oklahoma of the north?

Thanks to Kansas National Organization for Women for a link to this post from Jezebel about an extreme anti-choice bill that has since been passed by the Michigan House of Representatives. Among other provisions, the bill would ban all abortions for any reason after 20 weeks of pregnancy. There are no exceptions.Not even if the life or health of the pregnant woman is endangered by the pregnancy. Not even if the fetus has such serious problems that it will never be able to live outside the womb.

To add insult to injury, according to Jezebel, two pro-choice female legislators have been banned indefinitely from speaking on the House floor. One of these legislators, Democrat Lisa Brown, apparently gave offense by using the word "vagina" in her floor speech opposing the bill.

JOS of Feministing reports that the bill passed on June 13 by a vote of 70 to 39 after only 20 minutes of debate. The anti-choice Michigan Senate is likely to consider the bill in September

Besides the ban on all abortions after 20 weeks, the bill is what pro-choice advocates call TRAP legislation. According to the National Abortion Federation, the acronym stands for Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. The goal is to drive abortion providers out of business under the pretense of regulating clinics to make sure they meet proper medical standards.

According to Feministing blogger Chloe, the Michigan bill includes:
: state-mandated scripts for doctors that masquerade as faux concern for women who are being coerced into abortion, new TRAP laws to make insurance more complicated and expensive for providers, stricter regulations for clinics, new rules about the disposal of fetal remains that would affect women who have miscarriages as well as abortions, and a new measure requiring the presence of a doctor for a medical abortion in a state where many women rely on tele-med prescriptions because so few counties have a provider on the ground.
Chloe provided a link to the text of the bill, and recommended reading the ongoing coverage of the Michigan situation by Angi Becker Stevens at RH Reality Check. Robin Marty, also of RH Reality Check, wrote another excellent analysis of the bill.

Michigan state lawmakers seem to want to vie with the Oklahoma Legislature for the honors of producing the most extreme and ridiculous laws to limit women's lives and freedom. Of course, in Oklahoma, valiant and well-organized activists managed to defeat one of the worst anti-choice bills considered in the recent legislative session. Maybe our Michigan sisters will be able to do the same.

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