By Dave Andrusko
Pro-lifers in Michigan took another important step forward Thursday when the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of a package of measures intended to regulate the unchecked abortion industry in Michigan and protect women. After passionate testimony pro and con, the vote was 3 to 1.
HB 5711 is a combination of five previously introduced bills rolled into a single, omnibus bill. The bill amends the Michigan Public Health Code to bring about long overdue reforms to the state’s abortion industry.
Last month the measure passed the House Health Policy Committee on a vote of 13-5 and later the full House by a 70-39 tally on June 13.
Following the hearing a representative of the Abortion Industry unimaginatively declared, “This really is the war on women.” Renee Chelian, executive director of Northland Family Planning Centers, which has clinics in Southfield, Westland and Sterling Heights, said, “”They’re really not interested in safety or protecting women; they’re interested in banning abortions.”
Of course the bill has nothing to do with the legality of abortion. According to Right to Life of Michigan, HR 5711 would
* 1. Require all surgical abortion clinics to be licensed and inspected by the state.
* 2. Require abortion clinics to screen women to determine if they are being coerced into the abortion.
* 3. Prohibit prescribing and dispensing RU-486 abortion pills via Internet webcam connections.
* 4. Require the humane disposition of the bodies of aborted babies.
* 5. Require abortionists with bad medical records to carry a minimum amount of malpractice insurance.
Republican State Sen. Rick Jones said, “I think it’s a bill that puts some common sense regulation into Michigan law.” He added, “In a state where we license tattoo parlors … certainly we ought to license a clinic that does abortions.”
As noted, HR 5711 requires that abortion clinics be affirmatively on the lookout to see if the abortion is against the woman’s will. “Coercion must not be used against women to force them into abortions,” Jones said.
Right to Life of Michigan explained some of the background in a summary reprinted here.
“Prolife citizens have long known about the horrific practices that are common in abortion clinics. In Michigan, only 4 of 30 surgical abortion clinics are licensed by the state as outpatient surgical facilities. A 52-page report issued by Right to Life of Michigan in March 2012 documented decades of abuses of health and safety laws, and more importantly, abuses of women’s health and dignity. Over the years numerous cases have been reported of aborted babies being thrown into trash dumpsters. HB 5711 will require that these children’s bodies be treated the same as other human remains, by burial or cremation.
“Recently a pregnant woman in Detroit was bound and gagged, set on fire and shot – all because the father of her unborn child did not want the child to be born. Miraculously, she and the baby boy survived. This is the kind of danger women face when they stand up to coercion to have an abortion. Tragically, many more women surrender to the pressure and abort against their will. The legislation passed by the House will make coercion to abort a crime.”
State Senator Jones told the Detroit Free Press that although he’d like a full Senate vote when the legislature meets August 15, Jones thought that unlikely. If that proves to be the case it will be at least September before the Senate can vote on HB 5711.