In a rush to pass the new anti-abortion “super bill” onto the House floor, the Michigan House Committee on Health Policy denied women, program experts, and physicians the opportunity to testify against multi-faceted legislation intended to virtually eliminate access to safe abortion care in the state.
In a statement, Lori Lamerand, president of Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, said the following:
Politicians in Lansing are working overtime to rush this bill through because they don’t want people to know the truth about this bill. This bill could ban abortion statewide. After passing the bill without public input from Michigan’s leading medical professionals, it’s clear this bill is about politics—not women’s health or safety.
Women in Michigan don’t turn to politicians in Lansing for advice about mammograms, prenatal care, or cancer treatments and politicians should not be involved in a woman’s personal medical decisions about her pregnancy.
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Just months after Sandra Fluke was denied the chance to testify on behalf of women who use birth control on Capitol Hill, it’s unbelievable to think it’s happening to Michigan women in Lansing.
The American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan, the Hospital Association and the Michigan State Medical Society, along with dozens of women who had arrived prepared to speak about their personal experiences, were all denied the opportunity to testify at today’s committee meeting. Republican committee chair Gail Haines did permit testimony from Michigan Right to Life, a blatant reminder that this legislation is being crafted and voted on not with regard to professional opinion about women’s health, not with regard to women’s actual lives and needs, but with regard only to a conservative right-wing agenda.
In spite of insufficient time for committee members to review the 60-pages of legislation, and the glaring lack of expert testimony, the House committee passed HB 5711 by a vote of 13-5. It is unclear how quickly the bills are headed for the House floor, though speculation is that the vote will take place soon. The House is next in session Tuesday afternoon.