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Michigan Passes Anti-Choice Bill


The Michigan Senate just voted to pass HB 5711 — one of the country's most extreme and wide-reaching anti-choice measures, which is really saying a lot — by a 27-10 vote, with immediate effect. They added some revisions, which means the bill has to return to the House (which will probably approve it quicker than you can say "transvaginal ultrasound") before it's ready for Governor Rick Snyder's signature.

Remember that time Reps. Lisa Brown and Barb Byrum dared utter the word "vagina" during a debate about vaginas and were thus barred by House leadership? All that hullabaloo was about this 45-page bill, which would, among other restrictions, ban the use of telemedicine abortions — crucial for women who live in rural, under-served areas — and impose a bevy of unnecessary physical plant requirements on abortion providers, including minimum doorway sizes and minimum square footage (because every self-respecting patient cares about the spaciousness of her doctor's office) that could shut down almost every clinic in the state.

21 out of Michigan's 83 counties already lack a single OB/GYN, so this bill will make it that more difficult for the state's women to gain access to healthcare. This could get real bad, real fast.

Last week, the Senate prepared for today's women-hating entrée with a delectable assortment of anti-choice appetizers/bundle of anti-abortion bills, including SB 0975, a "conscience objection" bill which would give hospitals and other health care centers the right to deny services that aren't in line with their personal religious beliefs unless the patient/sinner in question is literally dying. The House is debating the bills now.

Opponents came up with various too-real situations where women, gay people, and mixed-race couples could suffer because their doctor didn't feel like Jesus/the Spaghetti Monster/whomever would OK their treatment. They also referenced the very non-hypothetical death of Savita Halappanavar, who died in an Ireland hospital last month after a miscarriage because doctors waited too long to perform an abortion that could've saved her life. Advocates, like Ed Rivet from Right to Life, said during his testimony that these "straw men" scenarios would never actually happen (then why do they need the bill in the first place?) and that "The sky will not and has not fallen."

Thanks to Michigan's lame duck legislators, the sky is looking pretty damn close right now. 

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