The last time Michigan prepared to vote on HB 5711, the debate became so heated that two female Democratic House members lost their speaking privileges for saying inappropriate words like “vagina” and “vasectomy.”
Now that the uproar has died down (and, conveniently, the primaries are over) it is time for the senate to consider the bill. It was originally believed that the bill wouldn’t come up for a vote before September, but now it seems that politicians are eager to get it up for a vote and move on before the November election. Unless the public makes it clear that they are tired of anti-choice legislation, the body could vote as early as August 15th.
“Instead of working to create jobs for our workers and opportunities for our students, Republican senators continue to fixate on getting inside women’s vaginas,” said Democratic Rep. Barb Byrum, one of the two women silenced after the bill’s House debate.
Activists and pro-choice politicians weren’t able to stop the bill from passing in the House, despite the capitol rallies or the arguments on the floor. But this time an effort has sprung up to stop the senate from hearing the bill in the first place. Becky Bond, Political Director of Credo, which is spearheading an attempt to stop the bill before it reaches the floor, writes:
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The committee that considered this bill in the Michigan House heard testimony from 10 people. Nine of them were against the bill, including a board-certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist. Just one person testified in favor of the bill: the head of an anti-abortion group.5 Despite this testimony, the committee passed the bill. And the fact that these requirements are directed only at clinics where abortions are performed, a procedure that is less invasive than many procedures done routinely in doctor’s offices, shows that this has nothing to do with women’s health or safety, and everything to do with politics.
It’s still possible that with enough pressure and publicity, we can slow or stop this extreme and dangerous bill from getting out of the Michigan Senate and onto the Governor’s desk for signature. But we have to act fast to build the necessary momentum before the legislature returns to session on August 15
With only a few days to apply pressure on Michigan lawmakers, it will take a lot of noise to bring the vote to a halt.