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    Introduced in the House on May 31, 2012, House Bills 5711, 5712, and 5713 have gained a notable amount of controversy. While all the bills contain a substantial amount of proposals, HB 5711 is packed full with various propositions that would hinder many abortion clinics but would also make existing abortion providers safer for women seeking abortions. Currently, HB 5711 has been approved by both the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee while its sister bills are still waiting to be voted on by the House. Together, these bills would establish significantly more regulations and insurance requirements. Under HB 5711, all clinics that perform more than five abortions a month must be licensed as an ambulatory surgical center. It would also be required of physicians that perform more than six abortions a month to carry personal liability coverage of at least $1 million. Women must also undergo a mandatory examination before their physicians can prescribe them the prescription drugs that induce an abortion. It would also implement a new guide on how to correctly dispose of fetal remains. The most controversial aspect of the proposals is that of HB 5713. This bill would outlaw all abortions in Michigan after 20 weeks of pregnancy regardless of the mother's health, rape, incest, and fetal abnormality. .

    Presently, there are two main groups on the forefront of the debate on these bills: Planned Parenthood and Right to Life. Michigan's Planned Parenthood's goal has always been to keep reproductive health care readily available. Consequently, Planned Parenthood has been an enemy of the proposed bills since their early beginnings. Lori Lamerand, the chair of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, wrote in an article titled Should the Legislature Enact Changes to Abortion Law?, "HB 5711, sponsored by Rep. Bruce Rendon (R-Lake City), is a sweeping, 58-page bill that moved through the House this month with unprecedented speed and a lack of any reasonable analysis as to its costs or consequences." HB 5711 had only been introduced a week before it was passed by a House committee. Supporters of Planned Parenthood agree that pushing a bill of HB 5711's length through the House so quickly is not ideal. Many question whether the bill was read and analyzed thoroughly enough before being approved. Meghan Groen, the director of government relations for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, said in an article from Mlive.com,"It makes it very difficult to know what all is in there." Defenders of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan also believe that these sister bills will take away from women's constitutional rights to have abortion by making it difficult to find a provider. With all the additional licensing and insurance requirements that providers must adhere to under the bills, many providers might be forced to close or move their location out of state. On the other hand, Right to Life believes that the proposals are much needed in order to keep the institution of abortion a safe practice.

    Right to Life of Michigan allies support HB 5711 because it combines numerous proposals into one concise bill. They also support the licensing mandates that abortion providers would have to abide by because it would make abortion safer for women. Pamela Sherstad, the director of public information for Right to Life, also said in the article titled Should the Legislature Enact Changes to Abortion Law? , "HB 5711 is a combination of five previously introduced bills rolled into a single, omnibus bill. The bill amends the Michigan Public Health Code to bring about long overdue reforms to the state's abortion industry." While Planned Parenthood supporters believe that HB 5711 and its sister bills deny women of their rights, Right to Life supporters consider the bills to protect women seeking abortions because they would put limits on doctors and abortion providers. Under HB 5712, women will also have to be screened to make sure that they were not coerced into having an abortion.

    The combined proposals of all three bills, if passed by the House and the Senate, would restrict many women's options if they become pregnant and decide to terminate coinciding with Planned Parenthood's fears. These bills, especially HB 5713, are conservative measures. HB 5713 would deny a woman's right to abortion after 20 weeks into her pregnancy while HB 5711 would make it difficult for her to be able to find an abortion provider. Due to the new insurance and licensing measures that would be put in place, clinics would have to charge women more for abortions. In Michigan, public funding for abortions is already limited to life endangerment, rape, and incest. If HB 5711 is passed, the licensing fees that clinics would have to pay and the additional personal liability coverage that doctors would have to pay would significantly raise the price of abortion. Not only would HB 5711 cause abortions to become more costly, but some clinics might be forced to shut down due to the rising cost of fees. Besides being undoubtedly conservative in nature, the bills combined are also full of many different proposals. HB 5711, especially, combines many new proposals into one giant bill. This makes it hard for the legislators to thoroughly analyze it.

    Even though these bills are all notably conservative, they would do well in protecting women according to Right to Life. Under HB 5711, the institution of abortion as a whole would become a safer and more regulated procedure. Licensed abortion providers would have to be inspected, and they would have to adhere to the same health and safety regulations as other medical providers. Not only would doctors have to examine all of their patients before prescribing any medication, which would eliminate the popular practice of webcam abortions, they would also have to carry malpractice insurance. Regulations would also be put in place that would insure that aborted fetuses are disposed of properly.

    Michigan is not the only state that has put or is trying to put regulations on abortion. Many states have passed bills similar to proposals in Michigan's HB 5711, 5712, and 5713. According to Guttmacher's Institution, 41 states prohibit after a certain point in pregnancy. Currently, in Michigan, a woman cannot legally receive an abortion if the baby is considered viable or after approximately 28 weeks into the pregnancy. If HB 5713 passes, women would not be able to have an abortion after 20 weeks. A doctor would also have to present during the abortion even in the cases of medication abortions. Thirty-nine other states require a licensed physician to be present during all abortions. Ultimately, Michigan is not the only state that is trying to restrict the practice of abortion. While there are pros and cons for each of the bills, there will always be supporters and opponents.

    Works Cited
    Cleary, Mary Ann. "A Summary Of House Bill 5711 As Passed By The House". legislature.mi.gov 16 July 2012. 17 September 2012. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2011-2012/billanalysis/House/pdf/2011-HLA-5711-4.pdf

    Martin, Tim. "Debate continues as Michigan Senate committee approves sweeping abortion-related bill". MLive.com 26 July 2012. 17 September 2012. http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/07/michigan_abortion_legislation.html

    Martin, Tim. "Michigan abortion bills 'largest collection of pro-life legislation ever addressed at one time'". MLive.com 12 June 2012. 17 September 2012. http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/06/abortion_bills_michigan.html

    http://miplannedparenthood.org/

    http://www.rtl.org/

     

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