A highly contentious bill that restricts abortion passed in Michigan’s House of Representatives Wednesday. Although allies of the bill said its content helps to keep women safe from being coerced into receiving an abortion and keeps high standards in the operating room, opponents of the bill say it is a step toward banning abortion in Michigan altogether.
This 45-page bill seems too long and unclear to decide whether or not it actually is for women’s health and seems to be putting tight stipulations on both clinics and patients.
The bill has caused immense tension in the Capitol, but debate on this bill ended with representatives passing it 70-39, with one representative abstaining because of absence. The bill requires physicians to follow stricter requirements for granting abortions and determining that a woman was not pushed into receiving an abortion.
It also prohibits treating fetal remains as medical waste, bans abortions after 20 weeks – except when the procedure would save a woman’s life – and would prohibit the use of the RU-486 pill through a web consultation.
No one disagrees that standards should be high in an operating room. But the standards set in abortion clinics by this bill will result in higher costs for the patient and the clinic, possibly causing many clinics to shut down and leaving many women who wish to get an abortion out of luck. Michigan lawmakers need to be more clear about what content in this bill helps to keep women safer in the emergency room.
A highly controversial part of this bill is that a woman is banned from receiving an abortion after she has been pregnant for 20 weeks, unless it threatens her health. The bill also does not make exceptions to the 20-week rule for victims of rape or incest.
Many abortion clinics in Michigan offer procedures through the 24th week of pregnancy; this new rule would give women one fewer month to make a very difficult decision and could open up the possibility for health problems developing in the fetus during the 20-24 week period, causing a baby to either die at birth or only survive a small period of time.
Mothers whose babies develop severe health defects in the 21st week then are subjected to seeing their baby suffer, and then eventually die either before, at or a short time after birth, proceeding to the same result as an abortion.
No woman should have to deal with the emotional turmoil caused by giving birth to a stillborn baby or watching her baby die after the first few months of birth when she could have had the option to avoid it.
In an overpopulated world where many women either are not ready or not fit to have children, abortion still should be an option for women to pursue.
Obviously no woman wants to put herself through the physical and emotional pain associated with receiving an abortion, but for some women, terminating a pregnancy can be the only option. This bill seems long-winded and confusing and needs to be more clear about how it keeps women safer when receiving an abortion. It might heighten standards in the operating room and in dealing with the emotional stress associated with considering an abortion, but for some, it looks like Michigan lawmakers attempt to put the state down a path toward banning abortion altogether.
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