Governor signs new law for abortion clinics in Michigan

Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:39pm EST

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder holds a news conference in Lansing, Michigan December 11, 2012. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder holds a news conference in Lansing, Michigan December 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Rebecca Cook

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(Reuters) - Michigan's Republican governor on Friday signed into law new rules for abortion providers that supporters say will protect the health of pregnant women but critics say will shutter clinics and restrict access.

The law signed by Governor Rick Snyder increases state oversight of abortion clinics and establishes a screening protocol to make sure women are not being forced to get an abortion.

The measure requires health facilities or clinics that perform more than 120 abortions a year to become licensed freestanding surgical outpatient facilities.

It also requires physicians to "properly and respectfully dispose of fetal remains."

"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.

The Michigan law is the latest flashpoint in the battle between opponents and supporters of abortion, a procedure that is legal in the United States. In the past two years, conservative Republicans in more than a dozen U.S. states have take steps to eliminate state funding for Planned Parenthood, a family planning provider that performs abortions.

Critics of the Michigan law fear its insistence on new, standalone facilities will hurt women in rural and low-income areas as it could force some clinics to close. They say questioning women on whether an abortion is voluntary subjects them to a type of interrogation.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, an abortion rights group that opposed the measure, said it could force many existing abortion providers in the state to either tear down their offices and rebuild from the ground up -- or shutter their practices.

The Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which also opposed the law, called its passage a setback for reproductive rights and the health of women.

"Safety was never the intention of this law. The only thing this law accomplishes is to make a difficult decision even more difficult," said Rana Elmir, the communications director for the Michigan ACLU.

Snyder vetoed a separate measure on Friday that would have restricted insurance providers and businesses from providing elective abortion coverage in employee health plans.

The bill also would have forced the victims of rape or incest who did not purchase separate abortion coverage to pay for the procedure out of pocket.

"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," Snyder said in his veto message.

"And as a practical matter, I believe this type of policy is an overreach of government into the private market."

Elmir, at Michigan ACLU, called Snyder's veto of the second measure "encouraging."

(Reporting by James Kelleher; Editing by Greg McCcune and Andrew Hay)

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Comments (8)
bobber1956 wrote:
Right now I wish this guy was the Speaker of the House. I think he would tell obama to shove it up……..I am in on that.

Dec 28, 2012 8:13pm EST  --  Report as abuse
xcvcvcsxv wrote:
Snyder on the rare occasion shows signs of life. But he still holds to the big book of GOP idiocy that all puppets must follow. They love states rights because it goves their weasley hands a chance to take us back a few centuries in cretive ways. If they could theyd pass a rule all Planned Parenthood centers must have fourteen foot tall celings

Dec 28, 2012 10:04pm EST  --  Report as abuse
borisjimbo wrote:
The Republican War on Women continues, courtesy of ALEC and their funding source the Koch brothers.

Dec 28, 2012 10:41pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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