Bills would make it illegal to coerce a woman to have an abortion

By JASMINE WATTS
Capital News Service
LANSING— A two-bill package that recently passed the Housewould make it a criminal act to coerce a woman into getting an abortion. All of the bill sponsors are Republicans: Reps. Joel Johnson, R-Clare; Bruce Rendon, R-Lake City; Lee Chatfield, R-Levering; Larry Inman, R-Traverse City; and Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac are among the sponsorsl. It now goes to the Senate. One bill would make it illegal to coerce a pregnant woman to have an abortion against her will.

Bill would repeal abortion insurance restriction

By BROOKE KANSIER
Capital News Service
LANSING — A controversial Michigan abortion law could be repealed if a Democrat-led measure succeeds in the state Senate. The Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act of 2013 requires women and employers to purchase an additional insurance rider — an add-on to their current plan — to be covered for abortions. Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., the East Lansing Democrat who introduced the legislation earlier this year, said the law is an unfair burden on women. “The legislature shouldn’t be trying to decide which medical decisions are right or wrong, which choices are right or wrong,” Hertel said. “I think that it’s sad that the legislature is getting involved in a decision that has been declared legal in this country.”
The law means women have to disclose their preference for abortion coverage to their employers in order to opt in, Hertel said.

Bill would prohibit employers from asking about birth control

By DANIELLE WOODWARD
Capital News Service
LANSING — Employers couldn’t discriminate against employees who use birth control or have had abortions under a new bill recently introduced by lawmakers. “It is mainly to protect women from discrimination and questioning from employers on whether or not they use birth control or have had an abortion,” said Rep. Marcie Hovey-Wright, D-Muskegon, who is the primary sponsor of the bill. The bill is pushed by the American Civil Liberties Union. “It is really based on the recent controversy over employees who don’t want to cover birth control in their insurance plans,” said Shelli Weisberg, legislative director for the group. “That gave rise towards companies acting discriminatory towards females that have taken birth control or who have had an abortion.”

Those are questions asked of women but not of men, she said.

Lawmakers propose ban on abortions of fetuses with heartbeats

By DANIELLE WOODWARD
Capital News Service
LANSING — State lawmakers are drafting legislation to ban physicians from performing abortions on any fetus with a detectable heartbeat. Women wanting an abortion would first have to have an external ultrasound, said Rep Tom Hooker, R-Byron Center, who is developing the legislation. “Generally speaking the heartbeat and brain waves are the best indicator of if the fetus is alive,” Hooker said. “The heartbeat can be measured as early as four weeks into the pregnancy but an external ultrasound would pick it up no earlier than eight weeks along.”
A separate bill would provide for fines of up to $50,000 to up to five years in prison for physicians who violate the ban, Hooker said. Right to Life of Michigan, a nonprofit organization that lobbies against abortion, has been working with Hooker to develop the legislation.

Legislation requires fetal remains to be cremated

By SAM INGLOT
Capital News Service
LANSING—Legislation that recently passed the Senate and is now in a House committee aims to prevent aborted fetuses from winding up in dumpsters. Women’s health advocates say the bill is unneeded because medical facilities already must incinerate all human tissue. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, would penalize abortion clinics and doctors who do not cremate fetal remains. Jones began working on the bill after 17 fetuses were discovered by an anti-abortion activist in a dumpster behind a Lansing area abortion clinic in April of last year. News reports claimed that the attorney general’s investigation ended in October of that year and found that no health code had been violated by the clinic.