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Michigan GOP Attacks Reproductive Health-Care Funds in Latest Anti-Choice Campaign

Michelle D. Anderson

Michigan Republicans want to defund several independent clinics and local Planned Parenthood affiliates, which provide critical health services other than abortion care.

Michigan Republicans have introduced measures aimed at defunding reproductive health-care providers, imposing medically unnecessary regulations on abortion clinics, and bolstering funding for an anti-choice group.

All three bills were introduced last week in the GOP-majority Michigan House of Representatives and Senate.

Michigan Rep. Steven Johnson (R-Wayland) and Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) introduced HB 4221 and SB 162 to prohibit the state from allocating “funds through grants or contracts for educational and other programs and services” to health-care organizations that provide abortion care.

The measures would prevent partnerships with several independent clinics and local Planned Parenthood affiliates, which provide critical health services other than abortion care, such as Pap smears and STI testing. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) had partnered with Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan in a $10 million federal partnership, the Detroit Free Press reported.

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It’s already illegal in Michigan to use state taxpayer dollars for abortion care.

Under SB 164, introduced by Sen. John Proos (R-St. Joseph), abortion providers would have to obtain a license through MDHHS under medically unnecessary guidelines passed in 2012.

The proposed legislation would require facilities to “be licensed as a freestanding surgical outpatient facility” from the state agency before it could provide abortion care.

The third measure, HB 4222 and SB 163, sponsored by Rep. Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron) and Sen. Colbeck would allow the Secretary of State to sell and distribute anti-choice “Choose Life” license plates that would raise funds for the Choose Life Michigan Fund.

The fund would be created within the state treasury, which would “receive money or other assets from any source for deposit into the fund,” according to the proposed GOP bill. Choose Life Wisconsin successfully carried out a license plate campaign after the state’s Republican-held legislature passed Act 227 in 2015, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. The law allows any group to apply for special plates with Wisconsin’s motor vehicle department rather than working with lawmakers on a separate bill to have the plates approved.

The three Michigan bills are among myriad anti-choice measures pushed by Republican lawmakers in recent years.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) last year signed a two-bill package that penalizes people for engaging in so-called “abortion coercion,” although the state already has laws for preventing and penalizing people who engage in coercive behavior. A Guttmacher Institute study showed that 14 percent of people who were asked in 2004 their reasons for choosing abortion cited “husband or partner wants me to have an abortion,” and 6 percent cited “parents want me to have an abortion.”

Pro-choice advocates, including state Sen. Rebekah Warren, (D-Ann Arbor), noted that Michigan lawmakers lacked interest in protecting people forced into carrying a pregnancy to term and only focused on those seeking abortion care.

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