Lawmakers propose ban on abortions of fetuses with heartbeats

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.

Health experts worry about doctor shortage

Capital News Service
LANSING –- Michigan could face a more serious shortage of physicians by 2020, according to a report by the Michigan Center for Health Professions. The report predicts that the top three shortages will be cardiologists, orthopedic surgeons and general surgeons. Melanie Brim, deputy director of policy and planning at the Department of Community Health, said the gap of physicians is an overall problem that is compounded by the current distribution of professionals. “The state doesn’t have enough physicians in general, much less getting them evenly distributed into not only rural areas, but also into urban Detroit,” Brim said. For example, the ratio of residents to primary care doctors in Clinton County is 2,494:1, while the ratio in Ingham County is 762:1.