Michigan House Passes Sweeping Abortion Bill

The Michigan State House of Representatives passed one part of a massive, three-bill omnibus package on Wednesday that would restrict access to abortions and heavily regulate clinics that provide them.

The bill would impose new insurance and licensing requirements on abortion clinics that bill opponents said could force them to close. It also would regulate the disposal of fetal remains, require some physicians who perform abortions to carry $1 million in liability insurance, ban the use of teleconferences to prescribe abortion medication, and force doctors to screen women for coercion before providing abortions.

The bill passed by a vote of 70 to 39, with all Republicans and six Democrats voting for it, after two days of protests and an emotional debate in the House chamber.

Democrats said the regulations were unnecessary and that the bill's purpose is only to shut down abortion providers in the state. Some of the female lawmakers tied the legislation to the so-called Republican "war on women."

“I’m flattered that you’re all so concerned about my vagina,” said state Rep. Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield). “But no means no.”

State Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) suggested that women withhold sex from men until they stop the bill. "Stop having sex with us, gentlemen," she said. "And I ask women to boycott men until they stop moving this through the House.”

Supporters of the bill said it was about protecting women from shoddy abortion clinics.

“I was amazed to find out that there are clinics out there are not inspected,” said state Rep. Ray Franz (R-Onekama). “My deskmate’s auto shop gets inspected more. The women of this state deserve better protection.”

Legislators decided to postpone a vote on a second bill in the package that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

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