Today, with the recent passage of House Bill 5711, Michigan joins the ranks of a number of other states waging war on reproductive health.
The bill, which is on its way to Governor Rick Snyder for his veto or signature, could have far-reaching implications for Michigan women. Two provisions in particular stand out for their potential harm:
- The state will impose onerous and unwarranted regulations on abortion provider facilities, potentially making it financially prohibitive for new providers to deliver health care. In a state where almost 90 percent of counties have no abortion provider, this could choke off reproductive health care for generations to come. These new physical plant requirements in particular are out of sync with regulation of other comparable medical care. Similar laws, known as Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers, or TRAP, have passed in several other states, and the objective is always the same—to put abortion providers out of business.
- Abortion providers will be prohibited from using telemedicine to serve medication abortion patients. Telemedicine is an avenue to high-quality medical services for people that might otherwise have trouble accessing it. Banning telemedicine for medication abortion could have a particularly devastating impact on women who have the most difficulty obtaining heath care: rural and low-income women. Ironically (or hypocritically, if Snyder signs), the governor offered high praise for telemedicine just months ago in signing a different bill.
“House Bill 5711 is a prime example of the deceptive nature of the national anti-choice agenda,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Under the pretext of protecting women’s health, this bill could undermine women’s access to safe and affordable reproductive care.”
Some Michigan legislators, though, have been surprisingly candid about their truest intent behind these types of laws. One anti-choice representative expressed on a radio show his personal goal that they must work relentlessly to “eliminate abortions in Michigan and completely defund Planned Parenthood.”
The state of Michigan continues to suffer under calamitous economic conditions, with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, yet legislators decided to make this bill, attempting to choke off access to reproductive health care, a priority.
This is a war we will never stop fighting. So we’re going to tell Gov. Snyder that he must veto this bill or else take responsibility for trampling on the reproductive rights of thousands of Michigan women. Join us in urging Gov. Snyder not to knock reproductive rights backward.