Prevention First Initiative
H.B. 5156 Rep. Pam Byrnes / S.B. 658 Sen. Martha Scott
H.B. 5157 Rep. Sarah Roberts
H.B. 5158 Rep. Mark Meadows / S.B. 668 Sen. Gretchen Whitmer
H.B. 5159 Rep. Richard Hammel / S.B. 660 Sen. Gilda Jacobs
H.B. 5160 Rep. Fred Miller / S.B. 659 Sen. Liz Brater
H.B. 5164 Rep. Lisa Brown / S.B. 667 Sen. Deborah Cherry
Pro-abortion representatives and senators introduced the “Prevention First” bill package on June 25, 2009. Of the original 11 House bills, 9 were reported out of the House Judiciary Committee to the House floor on September 9, 2009. (Two bills were rejected by the Committee, H.B. 5159-5160, which mandate that health insurance providers cover IVF treatments.)
Bills that RLM Oppose
Of the 9 remaining House bills, RLM opposes three, H.B. 5164 and 5156-5157. Though these bills are on the House floor, RLM does not expect any movement on them in the foreseeable future and there is no need for citizens to contact their legislators about them.
H.B. 5156-5157 mandates that health insurance providers cover contraception. RLM opposes the bill on the grounds that employers like RLM should not be mandated to provide insurance coverage for known or potentially abortifacient drugs or devices.
H.B. 5164, as originally introduced, would require pharmacists to fill all prescriptions regardless of whether they might have a conscientious objection to providing that drug. The bill was abruptly substituted by the Committee and reported to the House floor. The revised bill now shifts responsibility for filling or referring prescriptions to the pharmacy, rather than individual pharmacists. The bill still contains a very objectionable provision stating that pharmacies which do not regularly carry contraceptive drugs/devices are in violation of the law. Thus a privately-owned or religiously-affiliated pharmacy, where moral or religious beliefs dictate against such prescriptions, would be forced to choose between violating the law or their beliefs. RLM opposed the original bill and also strongly opposes the current substitute version.
Bills on which RLM Takes a Neutral Position
Of the six bills on which RLM adopted a neutral position, four passed the House on March 24, 2010. RLM does not expect any of these bills to move forward in the Senate.
H.B. 5158, regulating Pregnancy Resource Centers, passed the House 66-42 on March 24. RLM originally opposed this bill, but it was radically re-written, stripping it of all the onerous regulations and making it a one-paragraph bill requiring PRCs to notify clients that they do not do abortions or refer for abortions. PRCs already follow these procedures.
H.B. 5155, requiring that emergency and urgent care facilities offer emergency contraception to rape victims, passed 66-42 and was referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee.
H.B. 5163, dealing with sex education in Michigan schools, passed the House 61-47.
H.B. 5165, requiring the Michigan Department of Health to provide information on emergency contraceptives, passed the House 65-43.
The two remaining bills on which RLM is neutral, H.B. 5161-5162 mandating that health insurers cover gynecological screenings, are not expected to be taken up for a vote. They are dead for the remainder of the session.
Pro-abortion representatives and senators introduced this bicameral package of bills covering a broad spectrum of reproductive issues, which they call the “Women's Health/Prevention First Initiative.” The Initiative was introduced on June 25, 2009. All of the House bills were referred to the Committee on Judiciary. Senate bills 658-660 were referred to the Committee on Economic Development and Regulatory Reform. Senate bills 667 and 668 were referred to the Committee on Health Policy.
As originally introduced, Right to Life of Michigan was opposed to the following 6 bills in the package:
H.B. 5164 - S.B. 667
This bill would prohibit pharmacists from refusing to dispense or transfer a prescription based on his or her ethical, moral or religious beliefs. Pharmacists who refuse to dispense or transfer a prescription on religious or moral grounds would be subject to penalties under Section 17763 at the direction of the disciplinary subcommittee. Penalties under Section 17763 include fines, reprimands, and the suspension or revocation of license.
H.B. 5158 - S.B. 668
Pregnancy Resource Center Regulations
This bill would impose a host of regulations on pregnancy resource centers, under the guise of requiring all nonprofit pregnancy centers to obtain “informed consent” from the women they serve. This informed consent is defined as including “medically accurate and objective” information orally and in writing on abortion as one of the options available to women, and information on the risks associated with abortion, pregnancy and childbirth. In addition, all women must be informed that they have a right to obtain printed materials listing abortion providers. If a woman requests information on abortion providers, centers would be required to give her a “comprehensive list” of area abortion providers, essentially forcing centers to make abortion referrals. The centers must have women certify in writing that they received all the information required under the bill. Pregnancy center staff members in violation of the bill’s mandates may be sued by the woman receiving services.
H.B. 5156, H.B.5167 - S.B. 658
Health Insurance Mandate Contraception Coverage
These bills would amend the insurance codes regulating Blue Cross and all other private insurers, mandating that coverage for prescription drugs include any form of contraceptive approved by the FDA. Absent an 'opt out' provision in the bill, organizations like Right to Life of Michigan would be required to provide its employees coverage for drugs or devices that are actually abortifacient.
H.B. 5159, H.B.5160 - S.B. 659, S.B. 660
Health Insurance Mandate Coverage of IVF Treatments
These bills would amend the insurance codes regulating Blue Cross and all other private insurers, mandating that pregnancy coverage include infertility treatments. Like the contraceptive mandate bill, this bill would require prolife organizations that offer its employees health benefits to carry coverage for services that can lead to destroying human life.
RLM is neutral on the remaining bills in the package, dealing with sex-education and other issues.
View the status of the following bills on the on the Michigan Legislature website:
H.B.5156, 5157, 5158, 5159, 5160, 5164
S.B. 658, 659, 660, 667, 668