Stricter abortion laws put in place (The State News)

Published April 10, 2013 by The State News.

By Kellie Rowe.


Published: 04.10.13| Updated: 04.10.13

Michigan abortion clinics will need to adhere to a stricter set of rules, including screening women to ensure they aren’t being forced into abortions, to stay in business under a controversial state law that recently took effect.

House Bill No. 5711, which took effect March 31 and passed through the Michigan Legislature during December’s lame-duck session, includes a package of new regulation requirements for abortion clinics.

Among several other provisions, it outlines regulations for disposing fetal remains after an abortion, requires physicians to report a fetal death within five days after delivery and prohibits telemedicine, or diagnosing and treating patients through phone calls or other telecommunication technology.

Facilities conducting more than 120 surgical abortions a year will need to be licensed and inspected.

The law requires physicians to ask a patient if she has been pressured into having an abortion and to inform her coercion is grounds for a civil action.

Women in Science at Lyman Briggs President Mary Connolly said the intent of the law is good but could make women uncomfortable.

“Abortion is such a personal matter that a lot of women have trouble talking about it, and being questioned by a doctor could make the experience all the more traumatic,” she said.

Connolly said she doesn’t think coercion to have an abortion is common because the negative stigma of having an abortion often discourages women from seeking the procedure.

There were 22,826 abortions in 2011, 558 of which took place in Ingham County, according to a 2012 report from the Michigan Department of Community Health.

“Society should work to stop coercion in any form, whether it’s bullying a classmate or forcing someone to get, or not get, an abortion,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement in December.

Desiree Cooper, director of community and media relations for Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan, said the law won’t significantly change how women access health care, and it has “always” been a part of Planned Parenthood to ensure coercion was not a part of the woman’s choice.

Graduate student Stephanie Kotsiris, president of MSU’s chapter of Medical Students for Choice, said she wore a white lab coat to the Capitol to protest the law affecting abortion clinics.

Aside from the coercion regulations, Kotsiris said the law’s tighter regulations restrict abortion physicians from effectively treating patients.

“I want to provide the best possible health care for all my patients,” she said.

”With some of these bills, it’s restricting me to not be able to provide the best care for my female patients.”

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