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Michigan Governor Approves Atrocious Abortion Bill All About "Protecting Fetuses" Over Women

The law will seriously threaten women’s access to the health services they need by imposing harsh regulations on abortion clinics and providers.
 
 
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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R)  has approved a controversial  package of abortion restrictions that will limit abortion access for women  who live in rural areas, require doctors to prove that mentally competent women haven’t been  “coerced” into their decision to have the procedure, and enact  unnecessary, complicated rulesfor abortion clinics and providers. The governor signed HB 5711 into law on Friday despite  widespread protests against the omnibus anti-abortion measure.

Snyder claims that HB 5711 “respects a woman’s right to choose while helping protect her health and safety.” But women’s health advocates  warn the law will seriously threaten women’s access to the health services they need by imposing harsh regulations on abortion clinics and providers:

Critics of the Michigan law fear its insistence on new, standalone facilities will hurt women in rural and low-income areas as it could force some clinics to close. They say questioning women on whether an abortion is voluntary subjects them to a type of interrogation.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, an abortion rights group that opposed the measure, said it could force many existing abortion providers in the state to either tear down their offices and rebuild from the ground up — or shutter their practices. [...]

“Safety was never the intention of this law. The only thing this law accomplishes is to make a difficult decision even more difficult,” said Rana Elmir, the communications director for the Michigan ACLU.

Even some state lawmakers who supported HB 5711  acknowledge the law isn’t actually intended to protect women. “This is about protecting fetuses,”  one Republican legislator explained.

Michigan legislators were quick to capitalize on this year’s lame duck session to  push through controversial abortion restrictions, potentially because five anti-choice state lawmakers lost their seats in November’s election. The majority of Michigan voters  support legal access to abortion services.

Tara Culp-Ressler is the Health Editor for ThinkProgress. Before joining the ThinkProgress team, Tara deepened her interest in progressive politics from a faith-based perspective at several religious nonprofits, including Faith in Public Life, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, and Interfaith Voices.

 
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