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12.12.12 - (PRESS RELEASE) Today the Michigan Senate voted 27 to 10 to approve an extreme anti-choice measure, which includes provisions that prohibit abortion providers from using telemedicine to serve rural and low-income women and impose onerous and unwarranted physical plant requirements that could shut down many of the state’s longtime providers. The bill is expected to quickly be approved by the full House and then sent to Governor Rick Snyder for his signature.
Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights, called on Governor Snyder to veto the bill:
“HB 5711 is a prime example of deceptive nature of the national anti-choice agenda. Under the pretext of protecting women’s health, this bill would completely undermine women’s access to safe and affordable reproductive care—and ultimately place their lives and well-being at risk.
“Michigan’s public officials were elected to stand up for women’s health and rights, not to trample them. We strongly urge Governor Snyder to reject this attack on women’s constitutionally-protected rights.”
If signed into law, HB 5711 will require all physicians that perform more than 120 surgical abortions per year to do so only in a licensed freestanding surgical outpatient facility—potentially forcing many existing abortion providers in Michigan to essentially tear down their offices and rebuild from the ground up or simply close their practices.
The bill also attempts to ban the practice of telemedicine only in the context of abortion—despite national trends to utilize telemedicine as a way of delivering critical health care to people in rural and low-income areas. In fact, Governor Snyder signed a pro-telemedicine bill in June 2012 that requires Michigan health insurance providers to recognize claims for health services delivered by telemedicine methods.
"Telemedicine offers an incredible opportunity to easily provide health care to Michigan's elderly, disabled and rural communities," Snyder said in a statement when signing HB 5408 and 5421. "I applaud the Legislature's initiative to use technology to save lives."
Supporters of the bill have admitted that these proposed measures aren’t in the interest of women’s health, but in fact a backdoor effort to ban abortion in Michigan all together. According to a June interview with WILX Channel 10, NBC’s affiliate in Lansing, Mich., state Rep. Mike Shirkey (R-Clark Lake) said, “Until we completely eliminate abortions in Michigan and completely defund Planned Parenthood, we have work to do.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights, the only global legal advocacy organization dedicated exclusively to advancing and defending reproductive rights, recently launched the national Draw the Line campaign, which calls on all Americans to sign a Bill of Reproductive Rights and tell lawmakers that they stand strongly behind a woman’s fundamental right to safe reproductive health care. To date, nearly 200,000 people from every state in the United States, including Michigan, have signed the bill at drawtheline.org.