I suspect we all know the answer to THAT question…
H.B. 5711 is a bill that is was passed by the Michigan Senate last night that puts onerous requirements on facilities providing abortions — so onerous that most people paying attention believe it will shut down large numbers of clinics that offer these services.
Tucked away into this bill is a ban on the use of “telemedicine” — the use of computers, the internet and telephones to connect patients and physicians — by physicians to authorize medical abortions by, instead, prescribing medication.
Why is this important? Because just this past summer, Gov. Snyder was all about the utter awesomeness of “telemedicine”:
Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed legislation harnessing technology for the best delivery of medical information and services.
House Bills 5408 and 5421, sponsored by state Reps. Gail Haines and Matt Lori, require health insurance providers to recognize claims for health services delivered by telemedicine methods. Telemedicine uses telecommunications technology such as computer, Internet and telephone to connect physicians and patients, providing the best available care regardless of physical location. This allows for easier home maintenance of chronic conditions and promotes access for underserved populations.
“Telemedicine offers an incredible opportunity to easily provide health care to Michigan’s elderly, disabled and rural communities,” Snyder said. “I applaud the Legislature’s initiative to use technology to save lives.”
The bills passed with unanimous support in both chambers and earned the support of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Michigan Association of Health Plans, Priority Health and numerous other organizations.
The bills now are Public Acts 214 and 215 of 2012.
It’s clear that Michigan Republicans are complete hypocrites on this topic. They gave “unanimous support” to these bills but have turned around and denied these same services to women seeking an abortion. This service is critical in a state like Michigan where over a quarter of our counties do not even have an OB-GYN, particularly considering that 53% of the pregnancies in Michigan are unplanned.
What remains to be seen is whether or not Governor Snyder himself will choose the path of hypocrisy — or as I like to call it “GOPocrisy”. Given his track record this past week, the Magic Eight Ball sez “Outlook not so good.”
In related news, my state Senator Rebekah Warren submitted nine different amendments to this bill that were all derisively shot down by Republicans. For instance, she asked them to include a requirement that men seeking erectile dysfunction medication undergo intrusive anal exams and heart stress tests to keep them safe, much like the invasive vaginal exams women seeking abortions must go through. She also wanted wording requiring men to be asked if they were being coerced into having a vasectomy and to make sure any woman carrying a child to full term was not coerced into doing so.
Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer was nearly silenced by Republicans as she tried to speak on the legislation. She didn’t allow them to do so and gave a great speech:
This is the same sort of sexist crap that Republicans pulled last summer when they prevented Representatives Lisa Brown and Barb Byrum from speaking. Ironically, it was a woman, Senator Tonya Schuitmaker who tried to stop her from speaking.
Senator Whitmer released a statement on this treatment which you can (and should) read HERE.