We’re watching and we vote
State House Republicans today tabled a vote on a package of anti-woman, anti-choice bills that is being called the most regressive legislation of its kind in the country. With hundreds of protesters filling the Capitol building and grounds, mostly women dressed in pink t-shirts sporting the phrase “Women are watching and we vote”, a vote scheduled today was tabled.
Planned Parenthood of Michigan issued the following statement:
Nearly 500 supporters of women’s reproductive health care swarmed the Michigan capitol in Lansing this afternoon wearing t-shirts saying “Women are Watching.” The crowd gathered to protest a sweeping House omnibus bill (HB 5711, 5712 and 5713) that would all but eliminate access to abortion care in Michigan.
“This is a big day for us,” said Lori Lamerand, chair of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan. “Politicians in Lansing thought they would be able to ramrod this bill without a peep from women, but they were wrong. Today the legislature got a civics lesson—women care about their access to basic reproductive health care, and they are watching what happens in Lansing.”
The protest came days after citizens were denied the opportunity to comment on the bill when it was before the House Health Policy Committee. On Thursday, committee chair Gail Haines, (R- Waterford Twp.) shut down the hearing rather than take testimony from groups like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the Michigan Health and Hospital Association and the Michigan State Medical Society.
Women, men and professionals returned to Lansing today to witness the House vote on the 58-page bill, which has been pushed through the legislative process with unprecedented speed and without public comment. But as protestors crammed the gallery and others pounded on the Rotunda banister chanting “This is our House!” and “We will remember in November!” the House tabled the vote.
“We are not going away,” Lamerand concluded.
Here is video from the more than hour-long protest inside the Capitol rotunda:
The package of bills tabled for a later vote contains the following provisions:
- A severe time limit on when a woman can get an abortion without exceptions for the health of the woman or in cases where there is a severe fetal anomaly
- Requirements that health centers providing abortion to become unnecessarily licensed as a freestanding surgical center. Medication abortions do not involve surgery. This onerous requirement could force all such health centers to close
- A requirement that providers follow outdated FDA protocols when providing medication abortion despite scientific evidence that shows the commonly used evidence-based protocols to be safer for women
- Prohibits telemedicine as a method for providing medication abortion for women
- Supplemental bills include sentencing guidelines and criminal penalties against doctors
When asked about the purpose of the legislation, co-sponsor State Rep. Mike Shirkey said: “Until we completely eliminate abortions in Michigan and completely defund Planned Parenthood, we have work to do.”
Please show your solidarity by changing your Facebook profile picture to THIS (right click & “Save as” to download) and cover photo to THIS (right click & “Save as” to download). It will look like this when you’re done:
[Image credits: Progress Michigan, used with permission.]