The “War on Women” may seem like an overused media concept at this point, but here in the state of Michigan, the battle wages on. And it comes in the form of a 60-page bill passed by the Michigan House of Representatives that further regulates and infringes upon a woman’s right to have an abortion. If signed into law, the bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, require all clinics to have a specified surgical operating room and force many Planned Parenthood centers to shut down, among other regulations. House Bill No. 5711 is an extremely restrictive bill that gravely infringes on a woman’s ability to have an abortion. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder should veto this bill as it puts Michigan women’s freedom to make decisions about their own bodies in serious danger.
If passed, House Bill No. 5711 would make Michigan the strictest state in the entire nation in which to get an abortion. Having an abortion after 20 weeks would be criminalized, regardless of individual circumstances such as rape or the health of the woman in question. Other far-reaching provisions are included, such as making it a crime for women to be coerced into having an abortion as well as limiting access for rural women to have an abortion. Meghaen Groen, director of government relations at Planned Parenthood, stated, “It’s very clear that the intent of this legislation is to shut down health centers that perform abortions, that it is absolutely targeted at Planned Parenthood as well as other folks that provide women’s reproductive health services.”
Michigan lawmakers should not waste taxpayers’ time, or money, by trying to find various ways to control women. The Republican-led House, which passed this bill, is deeply limiting women’s individual rights. Women should have the very basic right to choose how they will handle their pregnancy. As the party who preaches personal freedom, passing a 60-page bill to inform women of what exactly they can or can’t do with their bodies is ironic to say the least.
Moreover, by requiring all women’s clinics to have a surgical operating room, many centers would be forced to shut down. Lori Lamerand, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan, said, “This will, in essence, make abortion dramatically less accessible in the State of Michigan.” Not only would this make getting an abortion in Michigan increasingly difficult, but it would make it more expensive as well. This would prove devastating for women in a lower income bracket who may not be able to afford an abortion at a higher cost. Financial reasons should not be valid rationale for turning away women who wish to have an abortion.
And as previously mentioned, this bill completely disregards the individual circumstances of women having an abortion. Having an abortion after 20 weeks is illegal, with no provisions for victims of rape or incest. The health of the baby is not taken into account, and there is only a slight exception for the health of the woman. This is absurd. The mental and physical health of women should come first.
Governor Snyder must exercise his veto power, if necessary. House Bill No. 5711 not only restricts a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, but it also fails to take into consideration the individual circumstance of each woman. Male politicians should not be trying to restrict what a woman can and can’t do with her body. Women deserve the power of choice, without the unnecessarily strict regulations preventing them from having that freedom. If there is any hope for this “War on Women” to end, Michigan lawmakers must put down their weapons and start giving the rest of the population some respect.