Planned Parenthood

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down several restrictions on abortion providers in Texas, which could have implications on similar restrictions in Michigan.
user dbking / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Yesterday's landmark ruling by the United States Supreme Court applied specifically to abortion clinics in Texas, but it could have far-reaching implications for Michigan, too.

The court's decision came in a 5-3 vote, with the majority opinion written by Associate Justice Stephen Breyer.

A protester shows her support for Planned Parenthood outside the Supreme Court Building in March
flickr user Lorie Shaull / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Planned Parenthood has been getting some very strong pressure from pro-life supporters, including members of the state Legislature, who want to shut the organization down because it provides abortions.

Or, at the very least, they want to severely restrict Planned Parenthood's funding and operations. 

Research
Flickr/Bill Dickinson

It would be a felony to get any money for donating or transporting fetal tissue in Michigan, under bills passed by the Republican-led Senate today. 

But Democrats say the bills are cracking down on something that's already illegal – and potentially criminalizing basic medical practices. 

Since 1993, it's been illegal to make any profit from fetal tissue donation. 

Steve Rhodes / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Planned Parenthood canceled a Detroit event scheduled Monday, just days after last week's shooting massacre at Colorado clinic.

The attack in Colorado Springs left three dead and several others injured.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state Senate has created a new committee which will look into Planned Parenthood’s operation in Michigan.

Planned Parenthood has been under attack nationally for how it handles fetal tissue.

Kate Wells

A woman in a minivan is not at all happy with Bethany Campbell’s massive poster, which shows the bloody detached head of a fetus and reads “Choice is Abortion.”

“Little kids do not need to see that picture,” the minivan lady shouts over traffic noise at a busy intersection in Ann Arbor.

“Yes, they do,” says Campbell, a blonde 25-year-old from Saline who says she’s worked as a nurse, and that while she’s been “pro-life my entire life,” this is her first time actually coming out to a protest against abortion.

http://www.uofmhealth.org/our-locations/ann-arbor-planned-parenthood

Protestors say they’ll turn out to about a dozen Planned Parenthood clinics across Michigan on Saturday, citing "recent revelations that Planned Parenthood has been harvesting and selling aborted body parts," as one press release describes it.

The Michigan rallies are part of a national day of protests at 300 Planned Parenthood clinics around the country.

For the past week or so, I’ve gotten emails and calls from people who want to know why I won’t help “expose” the evil being done by Planned Parenthood. They say that it has now been definitely proven that the non-profit family planning organization profits off the sale of fetal body parts, which they say Planned Parenthood deliberately harvests in brutal ways.

This has caused sort of a national “primal howl” by conservative and anti-abortion activists, who are demanding Planned Parenthood be defunded or even prosecuted.


Rick Pluta / Michigan Public Radio

A coalition of abortion rights advocates will not try to immediately repeal a Right to Life-backed state law that requires women to buy a separate health insurance rider to cover abortions.

“Our efforts and our resources are better spent on a broad strategy to address this growing frustration that is about more than just one issue in one discrete moment in time, but about the larger impact of politicians using women as target practice,” said Rana Elmir, Deputy Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.

State legislature adopts abortion insurance ban

Dec 12, 2013
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

It’s Thursday, the day we talk about Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.

The state legislature is wrapping up the session this week. On Wednesday, a controversial voter-initiated bill put forward by Right to Life was passed by the Republican majority House and Senate. The bill bans abortion coverage in standard insurance plans, which means Michiganders will have to purchase a separate additional rider if they want abortion covered as part of their insurance plan. This bill does not provide exceptions for rape or incest. It also does not provide an exception when the life of the mother is at risk. A similar bill was vetoed by Governor Snyder last year, but as a voter initiated bill, he doesn’t have that power this time around.

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - When lawmakers vote to restrict insurance coverage of abortions in Michigan, it will affect a small number of abortions because the vast majority already are paid for out of pocket.

Health insurance covered fewer than 750, or 3 percent, of 23,000 abortions reported to the state last year.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A proposal to prohibit basic health insurance plans from covering abortions goes before the Board of State Canvassers tomorrow.   Women would be able to buy separate abortion riders for their health insurance policies.

The Board is expected to certify that a petition drive has enough signatures to put the matter before the legislature.

Genevieve Marnon is with Right to Life of Michigan.   She says women should pay for abortion coverage themselves.

A set of bills aiming to more strictly regulate abortion providers in Michigan is on the way to the state House floor after clearing committee by a wide margin. 

Update 5:19 p.m. -From Michigan Radio's Rick Pluta:

The measures are backed by the Catholic Church and by the anti-abortion group Right to Life. Ed Rivet of Right to Life says critics are mis-representing their motives. He says the purpose is to ensure women have safe facilities 

“Every time we’ve  done this either women are going to die, or they’re going to be denied access to abortion and neither of those is true," Rivet said. "Those threats are always veiled, empty threats that never come true. The fact that 28 out of 32 abortion clinics in Michigan are not inspected or licensed is a fact.”

3:55 p.m.

The Detroit News reports that House Bills 5711-13 would make abortion providers follow new guidelines when handling the remains of aborted fetuses and require facilities where abortions are performed to seek the same licensing as surgery facilities, even if they only administer oral abortion medications. The bills would also make it a criminal act to coerce a woman into having an abortion. 

From the News:

In written testimony, the head of Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan said the bills place "burdensome requirements" on women's health care clinics that only dispense oral abortion medication to upgrade their facilities to handle surgical abortions they do not perform.

"Women rightfully don't turn to politicians for advice about mammograms, prenatal care or cancer treatments," said Lori Lamerand, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan. "Politicians should not be involved in a woman's personal medical decisions about her pregnancy."

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom