June 12, 2012 — A three-bill package (HB 5711, HB 5712, HB 5713) approved by a Michigan House committee last week would create "new roadblocks" to abortion and attempt "to make it rarer by making it prohibitively expensive," a Detroit Free-Press editorial states. "[R]estricting access [to abortion] only creates more hardship -- and danger -- for women who are already facing difficult circumstances," the editorial adds.
Among the bills' many provisions are a requirement that "[d]octors with a history of license violations or civil lawsuits ... carry additional malpractice insurance if they perform abortions," the editorial notes, adding, "If this is a good idea, shouldn't it apply to all doctors?"
The bills also would outlaw telemedicine for the provision of medication abortion, require abortion providers "to meet new, higher standards of licensing for outpatient surgery," and criminalize coercing a woman into having an abortion, "perhaps forcing doctors to become detectives/counselors," the editorial continues.
The abortion rate in Michigan decreased from 22 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age in 1987 to 12.1 per 1,000 in 2010, the most recent year for which data are available, the editorial notes. "Cutting the abortion rate in half since the 1980s ought to be viewed as a victory by all sides, whether it's seen as an affirmation of life or as better access to and use of birth control, or both," the Free-Press writes. But, the editorial continues, "no system is perfect, and experience ... shows that women will get [abortions] regardless of what the law says." It concludes that Gov. Rick Snyder (R) should veto the bills if they reach his desk (Detroit Free-Press, 6/11).
Repro Health Watch — an exciting new edition of the Women’s Health Policy Report — compiles and distributes media coverage of proposed and enacted state laws and ballot initiatives affecting women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, as well as litigation in response to those provisions.