The Prolife Bus: On 5/31/12, Rep. Bruce Rendon introduced HB 5711, an omnibus bill that incorporated 5 previously introduced prolife bills into one “Prolife Bus” bill dealing with coercive abortion, clinic licensing, humane disposition of aborted babies, banning “webcam” abortions, and requiring certain abortionists to carry malpractice insurance. Two additional bills, HB 5712-5713, were also introduced to round out the coercive abortion package and included the language of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
The House Health Policy Committee reported HB 5711-5713 to the floor on 6/7/12 by votes of 13-5. The House passed only the Prolife Bus on 6/13/12 by a vote of 70-39. HB 5712-5713 were not taken up, primarily because Gov. Snyder had not indicated his support for the Pain-Capable bill. HB 5711 will be joined to bills that have previously passed the House and are pending on the Senate floor in order to complete the coercive abortion package (HB 4798-4799).
The Senate Judiciary Committee took up HB 5711 on 7/25/12, heard testimony from many supporters and opponents, then reported the bill to the full Senate by a vote of 3-1. The hearing lacked the supercharged and inflamatory rhetoric that surrounded the bill after the debate and vote on the House floor. The bill now rests on the Senate floor and no date has been set for a vote. The Senate meets only 1 day in August, the 15th, then resumes a short autumn session after Labor Day, likely to recess by October as the House members must campaign for the November general election.
“Choose Life” License Plate: SB 600 and HB 4824 were introduced in the Senate and House on 6/28/11 and 9/7/11. The bills authorize a “Choose Life” fundraising plate. Funds generated by the sale of the plates will support prolife educational efforts and assist pregnant women. After the 8-year obstacle of the Granholm Administration, we finally have the opportunity to make a “Choose Life” plate a reality. SB 600 was reported from the Senate Transportation Committee with a unanimous 7-0 vote on 1/24/12. The bill is now pending on the Senate floor, but no date has been set for a vote by the full Senate.
Abortion Clinic Licensing: Rep. Tom Hooker introduced H.B. 5522 on 3/29/12 to address the issue of abortion clinics evading state licensing and inspection requirements. Under current licensing rules, an abortion clinic may operate as a "physician private practice office" if less than 50% of the patients it serves obtain an abortion. Clinics have abused this provision, falsely claiming their patient load does not meet the 50% threshold. H.B. 5522 eliminates the "50% rule" and requires that all facilities performing outpatient abortions to be licensed as an surgical facility.
The contents of HB 5522 were incorporated into the Prolife Bus, see action described above on HB 5711.
Ultrasound Viewing Update: Sen. Arlan Meekhof introduced Senate Bill 150 on 2/16/11, and it was referred to the Senate Committee on Health Policy. Like a measure introduced last session, S.B. 150 would require abortion clinics to use the most technologically advanced ultrasound equipment available in the facility for the performance of the pre-abortion diagnostic ultrasound. Additional bills will be introduced shortly that will require the abortion clinic to do a diagnostic ultrasound at least 2 hours prior to the abortion. Currently the performance of the ultrasound is optional. The additional bills also enable better monitoring of an abortion facility's compliance with the measure.
Sen. Dave Robertson and Rep. Joel Johnson introduced identical bills to enhance the ultrasound viewing law. The bills include the provision found in SB 150 requiring the most advanced ultrasound equipment to be used, plus require that every woman have an ultrasound prior to signing the consent form and the option to hear the baby's heartbeat via the ultrasound. Rep. Joel Johnson introduced HB 4433 on 3/15/10 and it was referred to the House Health Policy Committee. Sen. Dave Roberston introduced SB 313 on 4/12/11, referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee. The bill requires that an ultrasound be performed on all women seeking an abortion at least 2 hours before the procedure and before any sedatives are administered.
No action on the legislation has been scheduled.
Webcam/RU-486 Abortion Ban: HB 4688 (Rep. Forlini) and SB 420 (Sen. Casperson) were introduced on 6/7 and 6/8/11, respectively. The identical bills would prohibit the Planned Parenthood practice of “webcam abortions,” where the abortionist consults remotely with a pregnant woman via an internet/webcam connection and then prescribes RU-486 to abort the woman's child. The bill would require that RU-486 and its “chemical cousin,” the morning after pill Ella (ulipristal acetate), be administered only according to FDA protocols. Previous use of RU-486 by Planned Parenthood where FDA protocols were not followed led to the death of several women in California.
The contents of HB 4688/SB 420 were incorporated into the Prolife Bus, see action described above on HB 5711.
Late Term Abortion Hospital Requirement: No change. See 1/12 Status Report.
University Embryo Research Reporting: No change. See 7/12 Status Report.
Parental Consent Law Amendment: No change. See 5/12 Status Report
Ban on Research Using Aborted Fetal Tissue: No change. See 2/11 Status Report.
“Prevention First” Reproductive Care: No change. See 7/11 Status Report
“ObamaCare” Challenges: A variety of organizations and institutions are suing the Obama administration regarding the HHS contraceptive mandate. Some cases are being dismissed because the administration has delayed the mandate for some religious institutions until August of 2013 and has said it may yet modify the mandate. Other cases are expected to proceed because the mandate took effect for health insurance policies that renew or are started as of 8/1/12. See 7/12 Status Report.
Ban on Human Embryo Patents: No change. See 10/11 Status Report.
Health Care Reform: No change. See 7/12 Status Report.
No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act: No change. See 3/11 Status Report.
Defunding Planned Parenthood/Title X Funding: No change. See 6/11 Status Report.
Washington D.C. Abortion Funding: No change. See 7/11 Status Report.
Foreign Aid Abortion Funding: No change. See 2/11 Status Report.
Abortion Nondiscrimination Act: No change. See 2/11 Status Report.
DC Pain-Capable Protection Act: A procedural vote by the House to allow consideration of the Pain-Capable bill by the House was taken on 7/23/12. The motion failed by a vote of 220-154 because a special 2/3 majority was needed to allow for consideration. See 7/12 Status Report.
Conscience Protection: No change. See 8/11 Status Report.
HHS Contraceptive Mandate: No change. See 7/12 Status Report.
Interstate Parental Consent Protection: No change. See 3/12 Status Report.
Sex-selection Abortion Ban: The House voted 246-168 on a procedural motion to take up the Prenatal Non-disrimination Act (HR 3541) on 5/31/12. Despite a solid majority vote, the motion required a 2/3 majority vote to be successful, which did not occur.