This Status Report archive was updated 2/11/16
[10/15/Report] The House Criminal Justice Committee held a hearing on HB 4833-34 on 10/13/15. Abortion advocates offered very muted testimony in opposition to the bill and no opponents made any attempt to defend the D & E procedure itself. Planned Parenthood had represent-atives attending the hearing who submitted a written statement opposing the bill, but they declined to testify. Clearly they did not want to subject themselves to any questioning by legislators. No date has been set for further consideration of the bill.
[09/15 Report] H. B. 4833 & 4834 were introduced by Rep Laura Cox on 8/19/15 and were referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee. This package would amend the partial birth abortion ban and would add D&E abortions to the banned abortion procedures in Michigan.
Aborted Baby Organ Trafficking Ban: [12/15 Report] Rep. John Bizon, MD introduced HB 5086 & 5087 on 12/2/15 to prohibit the exchange of anything of value for the provision of organs or tissue from aborted babies. The bills were referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee. No date for action on the bills has been set.
[11/15 Report] Sen. Phil Pavlov introduced S.B. 564 & 565 on 10/15/15 to prohibit the exchange of anything of value for the provision of organs or tissue from aborted babies. S.B. 565 provides for sentencing penalties for anyone convicted of violating the ban. The bills were referred to the Senate Oversight Committee, which was specially created by prolife Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof to investigate Planned Parenthood and the issues related to the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress. Action on the bills will follow the investigative work of the committee. Rep. John Bizon, MD, has prepared similar legislation which will be introduced in the House on 12/1/15 after the Legislature's Thanksgiving recess.
Abortion Counseling Incentive Ban: H. B. 4831 was introduced by Rep Mike Callton on 8/19/15 and was referred to the House Health Policy Committee. No date has been set for a committee hearing. This bill would make it illegal for anyone who profits financially from fetal tissue procurement to have contact with or to counsel women at abortion clinics.
Coercive Abortion Prevention Act: [10/15 Report] Hearings on HB 4787 and 4830 were held on 10/22/15 and 10/29/15, with testimony at the first hearing and the committee voting 5-3 to report the bills to the House floor at the second hearing. Proabortion opposition to the bill centered on arguments that coercion to abort is a small problem compared to coercion to maintain a pregnancy, thus, legislation should focus on this latter coercion. While RLM has worked for numerous consecutive sessions to pass the abortion coercion bill, proabortion advocates have never introduced a bill address the alleged “bigger problem” of pregnancy coercion. A date has not been set for a vote by the entire House on the bills.
[08/15 Report] H.B. 4787 and 4788 were introduced by Representative Amanda Price on 7/14/15 and was referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee. A hearing on the bills is expected on September 22. This bill package would make coercing a woman into an abortion a crime and ascribe penalties commensurate with the type of coercive behavior used.
Choose Life License Plate: [04/15 Report] The Senate approved the Choose Life license plate bill on 3/17/15 by a vote of 26-11. SB 84 and HB 4140 are now both resting in the House Transportation Committee. No timeline has been set for when either of these bills, or any other license plate bill, might be taken up by the committee.
[from previous Report(s)]The Senate Transportation Committee heard testimony on SB 84 on 2/26/15, with only supporters of the bill present. On 3/5/15 the committee heard testimony from three opponents of the bill, before rejecting several pro-abortion amendments that were proposed to the bill. The committee then voted 4-1 to report the bill to the Senate floor.
SB 84 was introduced by Sen. Patrick Colbeck on 2/5/15 and referred to the Transportation Committee. Rep. Tom Hooker introduced HB 4140 on 2/5/15, which was referred to the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
Citizens Accountability Act: [02/15 Report] SB 27 was introduced by Sen. Rick Jones on 1/22/15 and referred to the Health Policy Committee. P.A. 208 of 1999 requires doctors who treat a woman suffering from an abortion complication to report it to the state health department. The law is obviously not being followed as the reported rate of complications is .008%. The Citizen Accountability Act would allow any individual who has knowledge of a woman being treated for an abortion complication to file a “Notice of Compliance” regarding Public Act 208. This notice would be filed simultaneously with the physician or facility treating the complication, the abortionist if he or she did not treat the complication, and the state Department of Health & Human Services.
Heartbeat Awareness Act: [04/15 Report] H.B. 4241 was introduced on 2/25/15 by Rep. Tom Hooker and referred to the House Health Policy Committee. The bill requires abortionists to confirm a heartbeat of the unborn baby for women seeking an abortion and to offer the woman the chance to hear or see the heartbeat via the ultrasound. If there is no heartbeat, the woman must be informed of the probability of a miscarriage occurring. No time line has been set for taking up the bill in committee.
Prenatally Diagnosed Conditions Act: [11/15 Report] Rep. Jason Sheppard introduced H.B. 5065, which is similar to the previously introduced S.B. 287 by Sen. Marleau. H.B. 5065 was referred to the House Health Policy Committee
[04/15 Report] SB 287 was introduced by Sen. Jim Marleau on 4/21/15 and referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee. The bill will require physicians who inform parents their unborn child has a life-limiting or disabling condition to provide either a referral to perinatal hospice services (for a terminal diagnosis) or be given medically accurate information about treatments, support groups, etc. regarding care for the child for non-terminal conditions. SB 287 is modeled after federal legislation and laws in two other states that have been limited only to a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome. SB 287 would be for all diagnoses. The bill also authorizes that a clearinghouse website be established to insure parents are getting accurate information. No time line has been set for taking up the bill.
Rape Survivor Child Custody Act: [02/16 Report] The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously reported HB 4481 to Senate floor on 2/2/16. A vote on HB 4481 by the full Senate is expected in the near future.
[01/16 Report] The Senate unanimously (38-0) approved SB 629 on 12/15/15. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. Action on HB 4481 in the Senate Judiciary Committee and SB 629 is anticipated early in the new year now that the Legislature has returned to a regular session schedule.
[12/15 Report] The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on HB 4481 on 12/8/15. SB 629 was introduced by Sen. Rick Jones on 12/3/15 as companion bill to HB 4481, insuring that Michigan's law will be eligible for additional federal sexual assault victim program funding. The Senate Judiciary Committee reported SB 629 to the Senate floor also on 12/8/15. The Senate gave final approval to SB 629 by a vote of 38-0 on 12/15/15. The bill advanced to the House and was referred to the House Judiciary Committee. Prompt action in January 2016 is expected on the bill.
[10/15 Report] The House approved HB 4481 on 10/15/15 by a vote of 101-4. The bill now proceeds to the Senate for consideration.
[06/15 Report]The House Criminal Justice Committee heard testimony on HB 4481 on 5/19/15. The bill was then taken up again on 6/9/15 and reported to the House floor by a vote of 5-0-3, with 5 prolife members voting Yes, and the 3 proabortion members abstaining. The only apparent reason for the abstaining votes was simply because RLM supported the bills with its use of the Shauna Prewitt video as part of its testimony. HB 4481 was moved as part of a group of bills dealing with domestic violence. Those domestic violence bills "hit a few snags" as they were being prepared for a vote on the House floor. The delay in getting some amendments crafted for the domestic violence bills is delaying consideration on HB 4481. A vote that was expected for June 17 or 18 is being delayed until mid-July, with the House planning to be in recess until then. A strong bi-partisan vote is still expected on HB 4481 when it is taken up on the House floor.
[From previous Report(s)] HB4481 was introduced by Rep. Lisa Lyons on 4/21/15 to strengthen the ability of women who have been impregnated through rape and who raise their child to terminate the parental rights of the rapist. Current law requires the rapist to be convicted of felony rape before his rights are automatically terminated. Such convictions are rare and require a higher standard for termination of rights than other cases of abuse or neglect. HB 4481 would put termination of a rapist's parental rights on the same standard as “abuse and neglect” cases. The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the House Criminal Justice Committee on 5/19/15, but it is uncertain whether the committee will vote on the bill then.
RLM v. Burwell (formerly RLM v. Sebelius): [11/15 Report] On 10/27/15 Judge Jonker issued a summary disposition order in favor of the Obama administration dismissing our case regarding the HHS Mandate. Jonker had been keeping the case in a holding pattern waiting for other courts to rule. In the wake of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in the Michigan Catholic Conference case, and in other circuits around the country, Jonker determined that our case would not succeed as the others had not. However, on 11/6/15, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear appeals in cases brought by several groups including the Little Sisters of the Poor, Priests for Life and March for Life. Our legal counsel is advising we wait to see the results of the Supreme Court's ruling rather than appeal our case to them. A victory in this case would open the door to RLM re-filing its case.
[08/15 Report] A hearing on the case was postponed from July until November. Judge Robert Jonker will hear arguments on 11/16/15 in federal district court in Grand Rapids.
[06/15 Report] All written briefs and response briefs in the case will be done before mid-June and the first action in court before Judge Robert Jonker is set for July 9, in federal district court in Grand Rapids.
[from previous report(s)] The pretrial briefing has commenced. RLM filed its brief on 5/13/15. The Dept of Justice has until 5/20/15. Response briefs will be due approximately 30 days later. Trial and further action is expected to carry into the fall.
In the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision, and a decision by Judge Robert Jonker in favor of the prolife Grand Rapids company, Autocam, there was a basis to think the Justice Department might agree to a stipulated judgment in favor of RLM as Jonker is overseeing the RLM case as well. On the contrary, during a 2/12/15 teleconference, DOJ asked that a standard trial process commence, with all the discovery, briefing, arguments, etc., scheduled into summer time. A ruling in the fall is most likely.
RLM filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Obama administration objecting to the “HHS Mandate” requiring health insurance plans to cover contraceptive drugs and devices, including those that have a known or potential abortifacient effect. U.S. Western District Judge Robert Jonker was assigned the case. Action on the case was delayed pending the U.S. Supreme Court's anticipated ruling in the Hobby Lobby challenge to the Mandate.
Subsequent to the Hobby Lobby victory, RLM's counsel moved to have the case decided in our favor. The judge, however, has delayed ruling on the case and the next round of motions and potential settlement negotiations are scheduled for 2/12/15. It is viewed as highly favorable to RLM's case that Judge Yonker ruled on 1/7/15 in favor of a prolife Grand Rapids-area manufacturer (Autocam) who had brought a case essentially identical to Hobby Lobby.
One-year moratorium on federal funding of Planned Parenthood: [02/16 Report] On 2/2/16 the House failed to override President Obama's veto of HR 3762 by a vote of 241-186. A 2/3 majority of 285 votes was needed for a successful override.
[01/16 Report] On 1/6/16 the House gave final approval to HR 3762 by a vote of 240-181. The bills contains a one-year Plannded Parenthood funding moratorium and the repeal of major provisions of Obamacare. As promised, President Obama vetoed the bill day he received it.
[12/15 Report] The Senate followed the House's lead by including in the must-pass budget reconciliation act the one-year moratorium. That bill passed the Senate 52-47 on 12/3/15. The act is needed to keep the government running past 12/11/15. President Obama has vowed to veto the bill, which puts into doubt whether the budget will get final approval or more stopgap bills will be adotped to get past this deadline. Many other issues are at stake with the reconciliation bill, so the process could be extended well into 2016.
[11/15 Report] S. 1836 introduced by Senator James Lankford (R-OK) on 7/27/15. Would remove all federal funding from Planned Parenthood and all of its affiliates. H.R. 3134 is the house version introduced by Diane Black (R-TN).
Health Care Conscience Rights Act: S. 1919 introduced by Senator James Lankford (R-OK) on 8/4/15 and house version H.R, 940 by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN). Would amend Obamacare to prevent coercing those who purchase health insurance from violating their conscience. Would also prevent discrimination from government against health systems and providers who don't participate in abortion.
Protecting Life and Taxpayers Act: H.R. 3197 introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) on 7/31/15 would defund all abortion providers. No federal funding would go to any organization that performs abortions.
Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA): [02/15 Report] S 404, sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio, and HR 803 by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, requires any abortionist to notify a parent before performing an abortion on a minor who is a resident of another state. The bill also would make it a federal offense to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion without fulfilling the requirements of a parental notification law in effect in the home state.
Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act: [10/15 Report] Prolife Senators failed to break a proabortion filibuster of HR 36, the 54-42 vote fell 6 votes short of the 60 needed to advance the bill. The House had passed the bill on 5/13/15 by a vote of 242-184.
[06/15 Report] The typical tug-of-war over bringing up an abortion bill for a vote has ensued in the Senate. Prolife groups are pressuring Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to schedule a vote on the bill. Future action remains undetermined.
[from previous Report(s)] The House approved HR 36 on 5/13/15, by a vote of 242-184, after a “compromise” language was agreed to regarding an “exception” for rape victims. The bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate where pro-abortion members are expected to attempt a filibuster should the bill be brought to a vote.
HR 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, sponsored by Reps. Trent Franks and Marsha Blackburn, would protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain, defined in the bill as beginning at 20 weeks fetal age, except when an acute physical condition endangers the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest. Sen. Lindsey Graham is the prime sponsor of the companion legislation in the Senate. A vote on HR 36 was expected on 1/22/15 as the March for Life was being held in Washington. However, objections by members of the Republican caucus regarding the language of the “rape exception” caused the bill to be withdrawn from a vote that day.
Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act: On 09/18/15 the House approved HR 3504 by a vote of 248-177 to apply the federal murder statute to children born alive after an abortion. The law addresses the heinous situations exposed in both the Kermit Gosnell murders and the potential organ harvesting from babies still alive after abortions which was revealed by the Center for Medical Progress videos. NRLC is calling for the Senate to quickly address this legislation.
No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion: [02/15 Report] HR 7 sponsored by Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Dan Lipinski (D-Il.) and S582 by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), would establish a permanent, government-wide policy against funding abortions or health plans that cover abortions (except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest). Among other things, this would remove elective abortion from the federally subsidized health plans that the Obamacare law established for millions of Americans. On 1/22/15, the House of Representatives passed HR 7, 242-179. The bill faces a Democratic filibuster effort in the Senate.
[01/16 Report] The repeal of major provisions of Obamacare were included in HR 3762, which was given final approval by the House on 1/6/16. President Obama vetoed the bill the next day when he received it.
[12/15 Report] The budget reconciliation act passed by the House and Senate (see PP one-year moratorium above) contains provisions repealing portions of Obamacare, but not the law in its entirety. President Obama has promised to veto the bill so most observers expect these repeal provisions will eventually be eliminated from whatever bill the President ultimately signs to finalize the budget.
[02/15 Report] HR 596 would repeal the 2010 "Obamacare" health care law. On 2/3/15, the House passed the bill, 239-186. The bill was then sent to the U.S. Senate where an expected filibuster by Democrats is expected to stymie the bill.
The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA): [02/15 Report] Sex-selection Abortion Ban. Sen. David Vitter has introduced S 48 to create penalties for performing an abortion based on the sex of the child, to coerce a woman to have a sex-selection abortion, or who transports a woman for the purpose of a sex-selection abortion. Rep. Trent Franks is expected to introduce an identical companion bill in the House.
Every Child is a Blessing Act: [02/15 Report] HR 281, introduced by Rep. Steven Palazzo, would eliminate “wrongful birth” and “wrongful life" lawsuits. A wrongful birth claim rests on the assertion that a baby with a disability would have been aborted, but for the defendant (usually a physician) failing to identify the disability and “denying” the parents to ability to have the child aborted. A wrongful life claim is based on the same concept, but is filed in the name of the child rather than the parent. The claims are not based on any allegation that a defendant actually caused the baby’s condition, but rather, that the plaintiff in some way failed to identify the disability that would have led to the abortion.
Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act: [02/15 Report] S 51 sponsored by Sen. David Vitter and HR 217 by Rep. Diane Black, would prohibit funds under the federal Title X ("Title 10") family planning program from going to entities (other than hospitals) that perform abortions (except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape, or incest against a minor) -- including, but not limited to, affiliates of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA).
Abortion Nondiscrimination Act (ANDA): [03/15 Report] S 50 introduced on 1/7/15 by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) provides protection to health care providers who decline to participate in abortions by prohibiting discrimination in employment or other program eligibility by the federal government.
Health Care Conscience Rights Act: [03/15 Report] HR 940 introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) on 2/12/15 amends the Obamacare law to allow anyone providing or purchasing health insurance to exclude from their health care plan treatments or services that violate their religious or moral beliefs. The bill also provides conscience protection for heath care providers who object to participating in an abortion.