Friday, April 13, 2012

Prolife legislation on the move in Michigan

Spring is a time when flowers bloom, the days get longer and birds return. This spring is a time when prolife legislation gets a chance to be voted on in the Michigan legislature. In Michigan, an unprecedented numbers of prolife bills are making their way through the state legislature. After dealing with eight years of former Governor Jennifer Granholm’s veto, prolife legislators are eager to bring their efforts to fruition.

In March, the Michigan House voted 72-37 to pass a package of bills designed to prevent women from being coerced into abortion. The lead bill in the package, the Coercive Abortion Prevention Act, creates criminal penalties for actions or threats of violence, financial pressure, withdrawing housing support or employment discrimination. Other bills in the package require that abortion clinics screen for coercion and domestic violence, and then provide appropriate referrals to facilitate an escape from the abusive situation. All abortion clinics also must post a sign informing women of their rights under this law.

Also in March, by a vote of 28-10 the Michigan Senate gave final approval to Senate Bill 135, which provides some long‑sought amendments to Michigan's parental consent law for abortion. S.B. 135 is needed to correct two problems: 1.) to prohibit judge shopping and 2.) to institute statewide standards for all judges in determining whether the minor has a legitimate basis for excluding her parents from her pregnancy decision.

Right to Life of Michigan also recently released an Abortion Abuses and State Regulator Agency Failure report. The final report culminated months of research and thousands of pages of documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act. This 52-page report prompted a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Licensing & Regulatory Affairs. Right to Life of Michigan Legislative Director Ed Rivet testified during the hearing, highlighting how the report documents abortion clinic abuses. Most of Michigan's abortion clinics are not in compliance with dozens of state laws or regulations. The report also cites a vital need for oversight and enforcement on the part of Michigan agencies charged with holding health providers and facilities to account.

The history of abortion clinic abuses in Michigan include violations of bio‑hazard waste disposal and medical record privacy laws, negligent operative and post‑operative practices that have resulted in patient injury and death, failure to report abortion complications to the state, failure to ensure sterile, sanitary surgical equipment and sterile operative environment, violations of informed consent for abortion law and the performance of abortions past the point of viability without documentation of maternal health reason.

Prolife legislators and Right to Life of Michigan will continue to work together to pass life-saving prolife legislation and shed light on the practices of abortion clinics. For more information about current prolife legislation in Michigan or to read the abortion abuses report, please visit Right to Life of Michigan’s web site at