Michigan pushing through legislation in lame-duck
Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 01:38 AM EDT
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Lame duck session of the Michigan legislature? Hardly.
Republicans are passing a flurry of bills.
In Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe takes direct aim at a couple of them.
Make no mistake, these are exhilarating days for the right wing of the Republican Party.
Last week, right-to-work. This week, right-to-life.
And not just any right to life legislation, but what some are describing as the most extreme and far-reaching anti-choice laws in the United States.
Imagine that. Right here in Michigan, a state that is emphatically proving itself to be blue in Presidential politics only.
And that may have less to do with politics than the fact people here just didn't like Mitt Romney all that much. But that's a different discussion.
Yesterday, two bills limiting abortion options in this state moved closer to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk.
One would require some abortion providers to become licensed as freestanding outpatient surgical facilities—nothing offensive about that except for the money some clinics will have to spend on, for example, new and wider doors and larger rooms. Costs that some clinics have indicated would be unaffordable and would force them to close their doors.
The law would establish screening requirements to make sure women aren't being forced to have abortions. Information on how often such a thing has happened in the recent past is scant. And the law would also establish provisions for disposing of fetal remains, like funerals, for example. At whose expense isn't clear.
Supporters of the bills say they'll protect the health and safety of women who choose to get abortions. Senator Rick Jones of Grand Ledge said the new laws won't stop abortions, "But will make them a heck of a lot safer."
Safer? Safer than what? Where's the evidence abortion clinics are unsafe as they stand? And for the record, 21 of Michigan's 83 counties lack a single OB/GYN. So the new restrictions will make access to healthcare for a lot of women even more difficult than it is now.
There's also a "conscience objection" clause that would give health care centers the right to deny services if they so choose unless the woman seeking the abortion is literally dying.
What's going on here is pretty clear.
Republicans know they can't overturn Roe v. Wade—the law of the land since 1973—so they're going through the back door to make getting abortions in Michigan as difficult as possible.
Disingenuous, at best.
Earlier this year Gov. Snyder vetoed a Republican-sponsored effort to crack down on voter fraud in our state.
To the Governor's credit, he said no because he wasn't convinced voter fraud was really a problem.
It's not as though abortions around here are being performed willy-nilly.
Right now in Michigan, a minor cannot get an abortion without parental consent.
A woman has to get state-directed counseling discouraging her from having an abortion 24 hours before the surgery.
And tax money is used only is cases of rape, incest, or where the mother's life is in danger.
And now this divisive, anti-choice legislation could be on the Governor's desk in a matter of days.
It deserves at least as much circumspection as he gave to the voter fraud matter.
And the result should be the same. The answer is no.
In this corner, I'm Tom Van Howe.