It’s possible that Michigan could be left with only one abortion facility if Governor Snyder signs the bills currently on his desk…. Call his office, and tell your friends today!

As we’ve discussed here before, among the proposed new laws put on Governor Snyder’s desk during the lame duck session of the Michigan legislature, was a package of anti-abortion bills known collectively as the 5711 omnibus. This package, if passed, in addition to stopping doctors from using telemedicine to care for women looking to terminate their early-stage pregnancies in rural communities, would force Michigan abortion providers to implement costly new systems and procedures which would effectively force them out of business. The Republicans, in other words, if this legislation were to pass, would have successfully made an end-run around Roe v. Wade, effectively banning abortion, without actually doing so, and thereby running afoul of the Supreme Court.

Before we move on, there are two things to be aware of. First, regarding telemedicine, you should know that 21 out of Michigan’s 83 counties lack even one OBGYN. Currently, women in those areas who wish to terminate their early-stage pregnancies can consult with doctors, either by phone, or via internet, and have medications prescribed that will abort said pregnancies. (A description of the process can be found here.) 5711 would stop this from happening, forcing women in the Upper Peninsula, for instance, to travel hundreds of miles to receive the same safe, legal and effective treatment. Secondly, according to Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan, there are currently only 32 non-hospital facilities in the state that provide abortions, and only 4 of them are run by Planned Parenthood. (It’s also worth noting, that, according to NARAL, 83 percent of Michigan counties already have no abortion provider.) If 5711 were to be signed into law, it’s like that all of the non-Planned Parenthood facilities would close, leaving, at most 4 facilities left in the state of Michigan that could provide abortions.

I say “at most” because, as I understand it, only one of the four facilities run by Planned Parenthood currently meets the ridiculously overly-stringent criteria established by 5711, and that’s the facility in Ann Arbor. The others, according to Planned Parenthood’s Director of Community and Media Relations Desiree Cooper, with whom I just spoke, would require qualification under a “waiver provision” that’s currently included in the proposed law. Without the waiver provision, as I understand it, that could leave Michigan with one facility, as, according to Cooper, these new “regulations call for unnecessary facilities improvements that could cost upwards of $250,000.” (Unfortunately, according to Cooper, they “don’t know the criteria for waivers yet,” and won’t until after the bill is signed and the political wrangling begins.)

And, that’s only part of the picture. In addition to the 5711 omnibus, there are also several other abortion-related bills waiting for the Governor’s signature. “Also passed by the legislature in this lame duck session are SB 612, 613 and 614,” said Cooper, “which would ban all private insurance coverage of abortion – coverage that is currently considered part of the core benefits for 80 percent of insurance companies nationally. There is no exception for insurance coverage ban even in the cases of rape, incest, fetal anomaly or health of the mother. If a woman wants such coverage, she must buy a separate rider.”

And, as far as we know, all of this is on the Governor’s desk at this very moment, waiting for his signature… which is why I’m asking you tonight to put down whatever you’re doing, and contact him. He needs to hear from you right now. And you need to ask for your friends to do the same.

The Governor may have screwed a lot of us with the recent passage of union-killing right-to-work legislation, but, as he demonstrated yesterday, when he vetoed the legislation that would allow people to carry firearms into schools, churches, hospitals, daycares and stadiums, he’s not completely beyond reason. He knows that passing the right-to-work legislation hurt him badly. He knows that his public support is plummeting, and that, according to a recent poll by Public Policy Polling, only 38% of voters approve of the job that he’s doing, making him the 3rd least popular Governor in the United States. He’s got to know that, if he loses women, it’s all over. But, as we’ve discussed before, there are rumors that he promised to sign this regressive anti-woman legislation into law in exchange for votes on right-to-work. And, if that’s the case, I’m not surprised to hear that he’s putting the decision off to the last possible minute, in hopes that it won’t get press during the holidays. So, that doesn’t give us very much time. We need to convince him right now that he’d be better off breaking his word to few Senate and House Republicans, than encountering the wrath of Planned Parenthood supporters. (You remember what happened to the former head of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, right?) So please make the call right now.

Lastly, if you’re up for it, you can give money to Planned Parenthood here, and support all the good work that they do in the area of women’s health, of which abortion services are just a small part.

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  1. EOS
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Abortion clinics kill 700 babies a day in our country. Close them all. Save the baby humans. Now, back to the bunker…

  2. Posted December 19, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    I knew this would bring you out of retirement, EOS. It’s good to have you back… And I actually really mean that. I wish more people of your persuasion would join in the conversation here.

  3. Posted December 19, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    I doubt that it’s because of this post, but I hear that Snyder’s voicemail is now full.

    Should people try to fax him, or is the online form the best bet at this point?

    (517) 335-6863

    Online form:

  4. Shelley
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Fyi I’m pretty sure that SB975 was not passed.

  5. Posted December 19, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    You’re right, Shelley. It passed the Senate, but it never got a full vote in the House. I’m sure it’s something that we’ll see again, but, for now, it looks as though there’s nothing to worry about. I’ll edit the post.

    This is from the Advocate:

    The 2012 Michigan legislative session ended without full votes on several controversial bills that would have allowed adoption agencies and healthcare professionals to deny services to LGBT couples and individuals on the basis that such service violated the professional’s moral or religious convictions.

  6. Edward
    Posted December 20, 2012 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Rich people can go to Canada, or have procedures done in the private offices of their doctors. This law will not effect them. This is about forcing a twisted sense of morality on the poor, who aren’t, in the view of the Republicans, able to make such decisions for themselves. Believe me, if Snyder’s daughter were to get knocked up at 16 by a boy the family doesn’t approve of, she will be on the next flight to Sweden, Canada, or wherever, to get it taken care of. If a poor girl in inner city Detroit gets into the same situation, it’s because she’s morally deficient, and she should have to live with the consequences of her actions for the rest of her life. That’s what this is all about.

  7. Joel
    Posted December 20, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Imagine — just imagine! — if we put the same degree of energy and creativity into regulating “the right to bear arms” that we do into regulating a woman’s right to make health decisions.

    Imagine similarly stringent controls over the size, construction and security of every facility licensed to store and sell firearms. Imagine requiring that all gun-related inquiries be handled in person, not by phone or email. Imagine the multiple visits and waiting periods before one could buy any gun. Imagine that each gun owner must have — and pay for — an annual inspection of the home facilities in which firearms are kept, and the operating condition of each firearm.

    Imagine that every potential gun purchaser be required to sit through a presentation of close-up crime scene and post-mortem photos of everyone killed in the previous year by weapons purchased and owned by normal homeowners for their “protection”.

    Oh, wait a minute. For a minute, I forgot that “Right to Life” ends at birth.

  8. Eel
    Posted December 20, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Could these be far behind?

  9. anonymous
    Posted December 20, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    At least Rick is giving us a new bridge to Canada, which will make it easier for those of us who either decide to leave the country, or just going over for an abortion.

    Thanks, Rick.

  10. Knox
    Posted December 20, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m not looking to pick a fight, but why is that when unions are under attack we can mobilize 15,000 in Lansing, but when women are under attack there’s no uprising? Only about 17% of Michigan’s adults are in unions. A full 50% are women.

  11. anon
    Posted December 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    that’s an excellent question, knox.

  12. TeacherPatti
    Posted December 20, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    That is an excellent question. I could be cynical and say that the union issue affects both men and women and so more people care about but since abortion only affects women* then fewer people care.

    *In reality, it can certainly affect men. If a woman has your kid & comes after you for child support, say goodbye to about 25%-35% or more of your salary for the next 18 or so years. (Sorry for the cynical view but I did divorce/custody law for seven years….trust me, that is how some people viewed the situation).

    PS: Welcome back, EOS!

  13. Posted December 20, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Back ally abortions are coming back to Michigan!

  14. Posted December 21, 2012 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Now you are talking about solutions to real problems. I hate to link this back to Newtown, but the real problem in this country is parenting. It’s easier to have a child than it is to adopt a puppy. The last thing we need in this world are unwanted, lonely, abused, abandoned children growing up to be anti-social, abusive, sociopaths. If a mother feels she cannot handle the responsibility of being a good parent, she should have the right to an abortion. On the other hand, I also believe the father should be consulted, but that is an argument for another day. Nice job, Mark.

  15. whatthisis
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    What this is: it is a test.
    If you aren’t smart enough to leave this polluted, anti-intellectual, in-bred state: you deserve to be bent over and forced to assume whatever ‘wide stance’ a fringe cult of know-nothings want you to assume– and as always, for their pleasure.

  16. Meta
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    On the rise of DIY abortion:

    McCormack knew that an abortion would cost $400 to $2,000, depending on how far along she was. Utah has a mandatory waiting period of 72 hours, which meant she would either need to stay in a hotel for that time, or make the six-hour round trip twice over the course of several days. She couldn’t come up with that kind of money. So she called her older sister, who owned a computer, and asked her to order abortion pills for her on the Internet. The pills cost $200, and McCormack says the logistics of arranging it all took about two months.

    By the time the medication arrived in an unmarked envelope on December 23, she was in her second trimester—at, she thought, week 14. Following the instructions, she took the first pill right away and the others some hours later. That night, she started having cramps. The next morning, Christmas Eve, she delivered a dead fetus alone in her bathroom, along with the placenta and a great deal of blood.

    The fetus was much bigger than she had expected. It was about a foot long, clearly female, with identifiable features and hair. McCormack wrapped the remains in a bag with the placenta. Then she put it in a box and hid it under her bed. That evening, she attended Christmas Eve dinner at her father’s place and dropped her daughter off with her ex-husband for an overnight visit. She wrapped the children’s presents, including new clothes she’d bought on layaway for her fashion-conscious daughter, and put them under the tree. She told no one about the abortion apart from her sister.

    After about a week, the box began to emit an odor. McCormack wrapped it up in more bags and put it out on the back porch, on the shelf of a covered barbecue. It didn’t feel right to her to throw it away. A week or so later, unable to figure out what to do, she finally confided in a friend. He called his sister, and his sister called the police.

    On the afternoon of January 9, 2011, two officers arrived at McCormack’s house. She led them to the back porch and told them, according to reports, “My baby is in the box.” When an officer opened the parcel, he discovered the fetal remains, partially decomposed and frozen. One officer took McCormack to the police station, where she described the abortion. An autopsy would later determine that she had actually been between 19 and 23 weeks—around five months—pregnant.

    Several months later, in May 2011, McCormack was charged by the Bannock County Prosecutors’ office under 1973’s Idaho Code 18-606, which makes it a felony for a woman to have an abortion in a manner not sanctioned by the state and carries a possible prison sentence of up to five years. McCormack isn’t the only woman in recent years to be prosecuted for ending her own pregnancy. But her case could change the trajectory of abortion law in the United States.

    Read more:

  17. Posted December 28, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Apparently Snyder signed 5711 late this afternoon.

  18. EOS
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

  19. Mr. Y
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I’ve been thinking about the ramifications of this legislation. Presently, there are over 30 facilities in the state that offer abortions. This includes four Planned Parenthood locations. I don’t know the Michigan-specific numbers, but, nationwide, it’s been reported that only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s funds are spent for abortion services.* Assuming 25 or more of these in-state abortion providers close their doors as a result of 5711, that means that the remaining Planned Parenthood facilities will likely have to do considerably more abortion related work, meaning that they won’t be able to provide the same level of service when it comes to breast cancer screenings, STD treatment, etc. In other words, I think there are going to be serious unintended consequences.


  20. EOS
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

  21. Abortion Rights
    Posted February 3, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    We wouldn’t be alone. Mississippi only has one abortion facility, and it’s in danger.

  22. Meta
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    It worked so well in Michigan, they’re trying it in Texas.

    Three Texas lawmakers—all of them doctors—have filed a bill that would require all abortion providers to meet the “minimum standards” for ambulatory surgical centers. Sponsoring Senator Bob Deuell tweeted today, after filing the bill, that it would “force abortion clinics in Texas to put women’s health first.”

    But the bill appears to be predominantly concerned with putting lawmakers’ political careers first.

    “This is not medically motivated, it’s ideologically motivated,” NARAL Pro-Choice Texas executive director Heather Busby told RH Reality Check. She said the lawmakers “haven’t shown any proven track record of problems this legislation would solve.”

    “In effect, it will make conditions more unsafe for women,” said Busby, pushing Texans to seek “unsafe and illegal abortions” by crossing the border into Mexico, or ordering abortifacients online. Legal abortion performed by a qualified provider is one of the safest medical procedures; childbirth, by contrast, has a risk of death ten times that of legal abortion, according to the World Health Organization.

    The legislation would leave Texas with only five facilities providing abortions.

    Read more:

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    […] anti-abortion legislation, and then looked the other way as zealots within his party began shutting down reproductive health clinics and forcing health care providers to withhold treatment from victims of rape and […]

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