The state Senate of Michigan passed a package of anti-abortion legislation last week in an effort to pass abortion restriction legislation before the end of the lame duck session. SB 612, 613, and 614 seek to eliminate insurance coverage for abortion services with no exception for rape or incest.
The bills would prevent abortion from being a covered benefit under the state health care exchange that must be implemented by 2014 as part of the Affordable Care Act. They also would prevent abortion services coverage from being supplied by private insurance policies from an employer. In this case, the employer or the individual would have to purchase a separate policy specifically for abortion coverage. The only abortion exception that would be covered without a supplemental policy would be in a situation where the woman would die without the procedure.
Desiree Cooper of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan told the Huffington Post "It feels like [state legislators] are completely tone-deaf to what Americans want in general, which is for legislators to pay attention to the economy, particularly in Michigan, and to women and their power to say, 'This is what we want, and this is what we don't want.'"
The Michigan House is scheduled to consider SB 612, 613, and 614 sometime this week. The Michigan House is also set to consider HB 5711 which would impose TRAP regulations on abortion clinics by forcing them to meet the same standards as surgical centers. In addition, HB 5711 would prohibit the use of telemedicine to prescribe medical abortions and require doctors to prescribe medicines to induce an abortion in person. Currently 21 out of 83 counties in Michigan do not have an OBGYN, which forces some women to rely on telemedicine for abortion care.
Media Resources: Detroit Free Pree 12/8/12; Huffington Post 12/6/12; ThinkProgress 12/6/12
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .