Women's Rights and Reproductive Health Care Suffers as the Michigan Legislative Session Ends

Affiliate: ACLU of Michigan
December 15, 2000 12:00 am


ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Michigan
Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DETROIT–The fight for woman’s rights and reproductive health care suffered severe setbacks in the recently concluded legislative session, the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood said today.

Before ending the 1999-2000 session, the Michigan Legislature passed 23 bills that limit a woman’s right to abortion and family planning, leaving 13 bills that will likely be reintroduced in the new session. The so-called “partial birth abortion” legislation, passed early in the year, has already been successfully challenged in federal court.

“This Right-to-Life controlled state legislature keeps whittling away at a woman’s right to choose,” said Kary Moss, Michigan ACLU Executive Director. “Abortion is a legal option for women, but Right-to-Life’s goal is to place so many barriers in front of women making it impossible for them to exercise their right to choose.” The gamut of abortion and family-planning related legislation passed involved everything from imposing unnecessary rules and regulations on abortion clinics and physician reporting to prohibiting abortion coverage for state and community college employees as well as for private employees by mandating that private employers not include abortion coverage in basic policies. Efforts to include contraceptive coverage in several bills were repeatedly defeated, as well as any increase in funding for family planning services.

“The actions by the Michigan House and Senate to exclude abortion coverage from health insurance policies in the state is outrageous, but it is even more appalling that the legislators refused to require contraceptive coverage in these same policies. Providing full contraceptive coverage in health plans is basic health care for women and reduces the need for abortion,” said Judy Karandjeff, Public Affairs Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

Beyond the re-introduction of those bills which died at the end of this session, legislators will certainly attempt to prohibit the use of the recently FDA approved mifepristone (the early abortion pill), the groups said.

Both the ACLU and Planned Parenthood will be working harder than ever in Michigan as the new session begins to raise awareness and uphold women’s reproductive rights and access to comprehensive reproductive health care.

BILLS PASSED BY THE MICHIGAN LEGISLATURE 1999-2000

A budget for Civil Service, PA 124 of 1999 contains language prohibiting abortion coverage for state employees or their dependents for abortion services.

A budget for Judiciary, PA 126 of 1999 contains the provision prohibiting reimbursement for cases dealing with abortion as passed last year.

PA 107 of 1999 amends the Penal Code to add the Infant Protection Act to prohibit so-called “partial birth” abortions. A lawsuit was filed on February 1, 2000 in U.S. District Court to block its implementation on March 10, 2000. PA 107 is currently enjoined by the court.

A resolution memorializing the National Institutes of Health to withdraw proposed guidelines for federally funded research using stem cells.

A budget for Community Colleges, PA 272 of 2000 contains the same language as last year prohibiting health care coverage for abortion for employees and their dependents, Sec 230.

A budget for Community Health Department, PA 296 of 2000 contains the same funding as last year for family planning with a “gag rule” for agencies receiving pregnancy prevention funds.

A budget for K-12, PA 297 of 2000 contains language prohibiting abortion coverage for K-12 employees in spite of the Attorney General’s opinion that it is unenforceable.

A budget for Community Colleges, PA 109 of 1999 prohibits health care coverage for community college employees or their dependents for abortion services, other than for a spontaneous abortion or to prevent the death of the woman, but encourages coverage for preventive contraceptives for adults.

A budget for Community Health Department, PA 114 of 1999 contains the same funding as last year for family planning and includes a “gag rule” for agencies receiving pregnancy prevention funds. A new amendment was added that changes the Michigan Abstinence Partnership (MAP) to prioritize funding for agencies that do not provide family planning.

A budget for K-12, PA 119 of 1999 contains language prohibiting abortion coverage for K-12 employees in spite of the Attorney General’s opinion that it is unenforceable.

PA 206 of 1999 amends the Public Health Code to require physicians’ offices that perform 50 percent or more abortions on their patients annually to be licensed as a freestanding surgical outpatient facility and to add regulations regarding abortion clinics.

PA 208 of 1999 and PA 207 of 1999 require additional information be reported to the state about abortions and requires transmittal between 30 to 60 days.

PA 192 of 1999 amends the MI Code of Criminal Procedure to include the sentence of a maximum of life in prison for performing a procedure on a live infant with intent to cause death.

PA 264 of 2000, a budget for Judiciary contains the provision prohibiting reimbursement for cases dealing with abortion as passed last year, sec. 312. It also contains language, sec. 323, requiring the state to compile data on how often the judicial bypass is requested and approved for minors to obtain an abortion.

HR 253 – A resolution memorializing the National Institutes of Health to withdraw proposed guidelines for federally funded research using stem cells.

SB 645 & HB 4828 – A package of bills to prevent insurance to cover abortion except to save the life of the mother. A separate insurance rider would have to purchase for abortion coverage.

SB 794 – A bill to amend the Public Health Code to penalize a licensee or registrant from seeking or accepting reimbursement from an insurer, health maintenance organization or health care corporation for any services related to the performance of an elective abortion unless covered by a separate rider in the insurance coverage.

SB 1170 – A bill to prohibit civil actions in certain cases related to pregnancy.

HB 5548 – A bill to amend the Mandatory 24-Hour Waiting Period and Informed Consent Law for abortions, PA 133 of 1993. The bill prohibits materials being provided through electronic means, such as e-mail or websites, or faxes. It also requires information that is mailed to have a return receipt. PA 133 had only been in effect since 9/15/99 after a six-year long court battle ended in a stipulated settlement. For more information, go to www.michiganlegislature.org.

BILLS LIKELY TO BE REINTRODUCED IN 2001

· A bill to defund Planned Parenthood from the family planning program.

· A bill to amend the income tax act to provide physicians who practice in underserved areas would be eligible for $5,000 income tax break, but they cannot perform abortions. A similar bill passed the Senate in 1998, but the House removed the anti-abortion language and the Governor vetoed the bill.

· A bill to establish the right of a health care provider or facility to assert, on a professional, ethical, moral or religious ground, a conscientious object to participating in a health care service. A person who objects must notify in writing the employer of an objection at least 24 hours before the health care service is scheduled.

· A bill to repeal the prohibition for advertising about the restoration of ‘lost manhood’ or ‘lost vitality or vigor’, but continue to prohibit advertising for the treatment or curing of venereal diseases and abortion. Current law prohibits publishing and distributing “immoral advertising.”

· A bill to require that the Family Independence Agency (FIA) investigate child abuse and neglect whenever a child less than 14 years of age is pregnant or has venereal disease and requires all providers to report to FIA. The current age in law is less than 12.

· A bill to amend the school code to require school boards that establish a board, council, or other group designed to provide parental input to have the majority of the group be parents from the district and that no school employees hold positions of power on the committees.

· A bill to amend the Revised School Code to specify that teaching about a dangerous communicable disease, reproductive health and sex education could not be done unless the pupil’s parent or legal guardian enrolled the pupil in the class.

· A bill to establish the right of a health care provider or facility to assert, on a professional, ethical, moral or religious ground, a conscientious object to participating in a health care service. A person who objects must notify in writing the employer of an objection at least 24 hours before the health care service is scheduled.

· A bill to require every fetus, regardless of gestational age, to be buried in a cemetery.

· Bills to require a prenatal death certificate be issued for fetuses over 20 weeks gestational age and to give a one year tax credit for the birth of such a fetus.

· A bill to require a physician to obtain from parent, guardian, or person in loco parentis before prescribing medication, ordering a diagnostic test, providing a diagnostic test, or providing medical treatment to a minor.

By completing this form, I agree to receive occasional emails per the terms of the ACLU’s privacy policy.

The Latest in Smart Justice

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Learn More About Smart Justice

Smart Justice issue image

The ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice is an unprecedented, multiyear effort to reduce the U.S. jail and prison population by 50% and to challenge racism in the criminal legal system.