LANSING – Gov. Rick Snyder Friday signed a bill to increase safety standards at abortion clinics and put measures in place to help prevent coercive abortions.
“This bill respects a woman’s right to choose while helping protect her health and safety, including making sure a pregnant person is not being coerced into a decision,” Snyder said.
House Bill 5711, sponsored by state Rep. Bruce Rendon, also provides steps a physician must follow to properly and respectfully dispose of fetal remains.
Specifically, the bill requires health facilities or abortion clinics that advertise abortion services and that conduct more than 120 surgical abortions per year become licensed freestanding surgical outpatient facilities by the state. The bill also provides that licensure waivers can be granted to any facility that is in existence as of December, 2012 and is determined to be operating in a manner that protects the health and welfare of its patients.
HB 5711 also ensures that physician or qualified health professionals screen patients regarding coercion to abort, and provide resources that can help. The Michigan Department of Community Health and partners in the domestic violence prevention community will develop information and training tools in those efforts. Lastly, the bill provides steps a physician must follow to properly and respectfully dispose of fetal remains.
The bill is now Public Act 499 of 2012.
Snyder, on Friday, also vetoed Senate Bill 1293. Because a companion bill, SB 1294, is tie-barred to SB 1293, it will also not become law.
The bills are a part of the governor’s plan to reform Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the state’s largest health care insurance provider, to a mutual nonprofit company. However, the measures as presented to the governor included provisions restricting insurance providers and businesses from providing elective abortion coverage in employee health plans. Additionally, the bills would have excluded abortions for rape, incest or the health of the woman in the definition of elective abortion, requiring women in those situations to purchase elective abortion coverage.
“When I proposed these reforms, there was no reference to abortion. Regrettably, those provisions were later added,” Snyder said. “I don’t believe it is appropriate to tell a woman who becomes pregnant due to a rape that she needed to select elective insurance coverage. And as a practical matter, I believe this type of policy is an overreach of government into the private market”
“It is my hope that we can reach consensus on reforming Blue Cross during the next legislative session.”