On March 3rd, State Senator Bert Johnson (D, MI-02) and three other Michigan Democrats introduced Senate Bill 172 requiring the state health department to provide information about “emergency contraception,” otherwise known as the “Morning After” pill. The bill was referred to committee with no further action at this time, and probably not at any time under the current GOP-dominated legislature that consistently shows itself to have a narrow, authoritarian, and restrictive view of human reproduction.
The language in the bill is specific about educating the public as a means of avoiding abortions as well as unplanned pregnancies and doing it safely by using the FDA-approved “morning after” pill. The pill is effective in preventing the union of sperm and ovum if taken by the woman within 72 hours of intercourse and therefore doesn’t involve zygotes, embryos, or fetuses. The pill is pro-active in the way that all contraceptives are intended to be and forecloses a problem before it becomes one. One would think that, as the anti-abortion party, the GOP would wish they’d drafted and introduced the bill themselves as the logical companion bill that would showcase their devotion to reducing the need for abortion. Someone should ask the majority leader why his party isn’t and hasn’t done everything in their power to reduce the number of abortions, especially something as efficient and inexpensive as educating the public during routine medical contacts, as is required in SB 172. Of course no one will ask because it’s clear GOP legislation is not truly about abortions; it’s about women and their families bearing the punishment of an unplanned pregnancy for sometimes unplanned sexual intercourse, the ultimate pay to play.
Michigan Democrats are trying to counter or at least neutralize some of the grievous health, social, and economic effects of the anti-choice legislation that has been silver-streaked through the legislature and its drafts swiftly dragged under the Governor’s signature pen. It is also clear that the Dems are the party that wants to eliminate or reduce the need for abortions. The GOP will argue about emergency contraception being abortifacients because the sperm is rocket-propelled and conception is nearly instantaneous, a notion debunked by medical science. Sadly, this bill will languish away in a hard drive until (1) there is a Democratic majority in the legislature and a Democratic governor or (2) the GOP trots it out to make hay in the 2016 political rodeo. But at least we know the Dems are working on behalf of their constituents to provide them with enough information to make informed decisions for themselves. Until then the last you’re likely to see of this rational bill is HERE.