MI House Panel Approves Restrictive Abortion Laws

A package of anti-abortions bills in Michigan was approved by a State House Panel yesterday and the bills are expected to be brought to a floor vote next week. Under the proposed laws, abortion would be banned after 20 weeks; doctors would be required to screen women seeking abortions to make sure they are not being coerced; doctors would be prohibited from using webcams to provide consultation as women undergo medication abortions; and there would be new restrictions on disposing of fetal remains. The Detroit News reports that one of the bills also requires clinics that perform abortions to be licensed as surgical centers.

Dr. Timothy Johnson, chair of the obstetrics and gynecology department at the University of Michigan Health System, testified at the hearing, saying, “My concern is that we’ll make Michigan a new center for the war on women.” Dr. Johnson said he was especially concerned about the part of the package that requires women be screened to make sure they weren’t coerced into an abortion, saying it is more likely that a woman will be coerced into getting pregnant. Doctors have also said that the cost of malpractice insurance is likely to skyrocket under the new law, causing many doctors to be forced to leave the state to practice.

The bill passed the House panel on margins of 13-5 and 13-4. It now goes to the House floor for full debate.

Detroit News 6/7/12; Michigan Radio 6/7/12; Associated Press 6/7/12

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