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State Senate Passes New Abortion Restrictions

Dome of State Capitol building

The state Legislature wants to make a temporary restriction on abortion permanent. 

In 2012, Governor Rick Snyder signed a law that prevents women from seeking abortions through medication to see their doctor via telecommunication.

That law is set to expire at the end of December. And Republican lawmakers want to prevent that from happening.

But opponents of the restriction say it will prevent women in rural areas from getting timely access to abortion services.

Genevieve Marnon is the Legislative Director for Right to Life of Michigan. Right to Life – an anti-abortion group – spoke in favor of the bill during a committee meeting.

"It’s not a matter of women not being able to access a medical abortion, it’s really a matter of safety," said Marnon.

Senator Rebecca Warren is a Democrat. She spoke out against the bill. Warren says this bill was not introduced to protect women – but to erode their right to choose.

“There is no medical, scientific, or legal argument for banning telemedicine in these circumstances," said Sen. Warren.

Bill supporters say the abortion medication is dangerous, and requiring women to see a doctor in person will not deny them access to it.  

Lori Carpentier is the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Michigan. She says this could restrict women’s access to health care – and reduce access to earlier, safer abortions.

“This is an attack on women who are in rural Michigan, and there are a lot of them," said Carpentier. "And we have a real shortage of OBGYNs in the state. And this would further limit their access to safe and legal abortions.”

The legislation now heads to the state House.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County.
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