I had the opportunity to hear Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, speak earlier this evening. She ended her speech by reminding people that, 96 years ago, Margaret Sanger was arrested for handing out information on birth control to poor, immigrant women in Brooklyn. Richards then mentioned that, last month alone, some 4.4 million people accessed similar birth control information from the Planned Parenthood website. Her point, I think, was that, despite the attempts of conservatives, over the past 100 years, we’re continuing to make progress. Along those same lines, she noted the huge outpouring of support that Planned Parenthood received when the Komen Foundation, a few months ago, announced that they would be putting politics before women’s health, and cutting financial support. The response, as she said, was immediate and overwhelming. Some 1.3 million tweets were sent by Planned Parenthood supporters, and Komen was forced to back down. And, Planned Parenthood raised an incredible amout of money from individual donors as a result, further growing their already large base of support. Unfortunately, however, the Republicans aren’t giving up. They’re continuing to push an extremist agenda that seeks to limit reproductive freedom. Today, in fact, Republicans in the Michigan House of Representatives introduced a 60-page omnibus bill that would, if passed, effectively end abortion access, and seriously limit women’s reproductive options across the state. The ACLU is calling the legislation, “sweeping and unprecedented,” and Meghan Groen, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan, has referred to it as, “the most extreme legislation we’re seeing anywhere in the country.”
According to our friends at Eclectablog, the Health Policy House Committee held a hearing this morning on the legislation, which was “abruptly ended,” when it became evident that opponents of the initiative intended to voice their concerns. The committee, at this point, hurriedly blessed the legislation, and then handed the it off to the full House for a vote. Fortunately, though, the House adjourned this evening without having addressed it. Word is, the vote could come as early as Monday or Tuesday of next week. And, in that time, Planned Parenthood is doing everything in its power to get the word out, and mobilize its forces to block the omnibus bill from being rushed through by Republicans… Here’s their petition.
…House Bills 5711, 5712, and 5713 represent a sweeping and unprecedented attack on women’s reproductive health. It is vague, poorly drafted, and will have incredibly serious ramifications for women’s access to health care services. It is being rushed through with only a week from introduction to committee and will require a strong response from YOU to ensure defeat.
Michigan women need your help today! Take a stand and tell your representative to treat women with the respect they deserve!
The legislation includes but is not limited to:
Back Door Abortion Ban
The intention of this legislation is to completely shut down all abortion providers by instituting targeted, harmful, and medically unnecessary regulation on health centers that provide abortion services. Supporters of these regulations are political organizations who believe that all abortion care should be illegal, no exceptions. This is an attempt to shut down all abortion providers in the state in a backdoor attempt to ban abortion. If these attacks succeed, women will pay the price. They will pay with their rights, their health, and their lives.
Attack on Doctors
This legislation is an outright attack on physicians’ ability to practice medicine. Under these bills, doctors would be forced to go against their best medical knowledge when providing services to patients. It allows medicine to be dictated by politics, not by science.
Furthermore, the legislation singles out doctors that perform abortion care. It is filled with many aspects that violate standard obstetric practice, interfere with the doctor-patient relationship, and are dangerous to women’s health. It puts increased liability on physicians and sends the message that politicians, not doctors, know what is best for women.
Jeopardizes Women’s Health
Included in this legislation is a restrictive ban seeking to limit access to abortion services. The ban goes against the ruling of Roe v. Wade. Moreover, it does NOT include an exemption for rape, incest, fetal anomaly, or health of the woman, and it leaves women in an emergency situation in peril.
Make no mistake—this legislation is about politics. When women do not have access to abortion services, it doesn’t go away. Women still have abortions—just less safe abortions. Making abortion a crime puts women’s lives and health at great risk. Politically motivated legislation that makes it more difficult for health centers to provide high-quality health care only makes it harder for women and couples to access critical reproductive health care services, including lifesaving cancer screenings, contraception, STD prevention and treatment, and continued access to safe and compassionate abortion care.
This legislation must be stopped! Take a stand and tell the Michigan Legislature that women & their doctors should make health care decisions, not politicians! House Bills 5711, 5712, and 5713 are an insult to women, doctors, families, and the residents of Michigan.
If you would like to join me in signing this petition, you can do so here.
And, once you’ve signed the petition, I’d appreciate it if you would contact your member of the Michigan House, and let him/her know how you feel. If you’ve never called or written, you’ll find your Representative’s contact information here.
One last thing… For those of you who think I might be overstating the intention of Republican legislators when I say that this is about defunding Planned Parenthood, and limiting reproductive options for women, I offer the following quote from Representative Mike Shirkey, from Clark Lake, Michigan… “[Abortion] is nothing short of infanticide. Until we completely eliminate abortions in Michigan and completely defund Planned Parenthood, we have work to do.”
[note: The photo above was taken at Netroots Nation earlier this evening. In case it's not clear in the photo, the folks from Planned Parenthood were handing out chocolates in the iconic shape of birth control pill packaging.]