(Kathleen Gray) All 64 Republicans and six Democrats in the state House joined forces Wednesday to approve sweeping anti-abortion legislation. The bill would increase insurance and regulations on abortion clinics, regulate the disposal of fetal remains, prohibit the use of teleconferences to prescribe abortion medication and make it a crime to coerce a woman into having an abortion.
Another bill that would restrict abortions after 20 weeks with no exceptions for rape, incest or fetal abnormalities, was not considered.
The 70-39 vote came after nearly an hour of emotional debate.
“I was amazed to find out that there are clinics out there are not inspected,” said state Rep. Ray Franz, R-Onekama. “My deskmate’s auto shop gets inspected more. The women of this state deserve better protection.”
But state Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright, D-Muskegon, said the real intent of the bill is to close many abortion clinics.
“These bills purport to protect women, but will force women to self abort in unsafe conditions because the clinics will not be there,” she said.
And some representatives were particularly angry at the men who supported the bills.
“I’m flattered that you’re all so concerned about my vagina,” said state Rep. Lisa Brown, D-West Bloomfield. “But no means no.”
And state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, recommended that women withhold sex from their partners until the Legislature stopped the bills.
“We’re launching a war on women,” she said. “Stop having sex with us, gentlemen, and I ask women to boycott men until they stop moving this through the House.”
Her comment drew guffaws in the House chambers.
Supporters said the legislation was about protecting women.
“This will only enhance access to womens’ health care,” said state Rep. Gail Haines, R-Lake Angelus.
Michigan Catholic Conference Policy Advocate Rebecca Mastee said “holding clinics to minimum standards and working to protect the more than 60% of women who are coerced into having an abortion should not be controversial if the safety of women is of concern.”
The six Democrats who voted for the bill were Charles Brunner of Bay City, Paul Clemente of Lincoln Park, Bob Constan of Dearborn Heights, George Darany of Dearborn, Richard LeBlanc of Westland and Lesia Liss of Warren.
The state Senate isn’t expected to act on the bills until September at the earliest. Gov. Rick Snyder has not taken a position on the bills.