Michigan Lawmakers Continue Onslaught of Anti-Choice Legislation in the New Session

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Michigan Lawmakers Continue Onslaught of Anti-Choice Legislation in the New Session

Angi Becker Stevens

Clearly not content with the recent passage of one of the most extreme pieces of anti-abortion legislation in the country, Michigan lawmakers are already hard at work pushing for still more barriers to abortion access.

Clearly not content with the recent passage of one of the most extreme pieces of anti-abortion legislation in the country, Michigan lawmakers are already hard at work pushing for still more barriers to safe abortion care.

On January 22nd, the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Republican Representative Mike Shirkey introduced two bills—HB 4065 and 4066—which would prohibit all insurance coverage of abortion in health insurance plans purchased via the state exchange, except with the purchase of an additional “abortion rider.” Identical legislation had already passed in the Senate near the end of the year, but was not taken up by the House before the legislative session ended. The bills make an exception only for cases where a woman’s life is in danger, with no mention whatsoever of cases of rape or incest.

Earlier today, Republican Representative Tom Hooker re-introduced two pieces of legislation he had also sponsored in the previous legislative session. The first, HB 4161, would prohibit the state from allocating any funds to providers that offer abortions, either via contracts or grants, forcing all clinics to choose between continuing to perform abortion or losing all eligibility for state funds. Though facilities such as Planned Parenthood already do not receive state funding aimed at funding abortion, they currently remain eligible for state grants for their family planning services. HB 4161 would cut off all of Planned Parenthood’s eligibility for state funding in Michigan, so long as they continue to provide abortions. As many clinics in the state likely face closure due to the costly regulations recently signed into law, this piece of legislation would have an even further devastating impact.

The second bill re-introduced by Hooker, HB 4162, would require that all abortions after 19 weeks take place in a facility with a neonatal unit, in case of the event that an abortion results in a live birth. The potential impact of this legislation is particularly severe when combined with HB 4162; it is unlikely that any medical facility large enough to contain a neonatal institute could afford to lose all state contracts and grants by continuing to perform abortions. This pair of bills, then, if both enacted, would in essence have the consequence of prohibiting all abortions at or beyond 19 weeks gestation in Michigan.

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Neither of Hooker’s bills made substantial progress in the state legislature last season, but given Michigan lawmakers recent landslide approval of HB 5711, the passage of any and all anti-abortion legislation seems feasible.