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Stateside: Looking at Michigan's new abortion law 40 years after Roe v. Wade

Rick Pluta
Michigan Public Radio

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

Among the flood of bills passed in the waning days of 2012 came House Bill 5711.

The bill was signed by Gov. Snyder last month and became law (Public Act 499 of 2012).

Dr. Lisa Hope Harris Assistant Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Michigan spoke with Cyndy about the new law and its implications for the state.

“There are four components to the new law. The first is that health centers that provide 120 or more surgical abortions per year and advertise those abortions be licensed as free-standing surgical centers. The law does include waivers… Clinics will very likely be able to comply with this regulation. That means that women are unlikely to be directly affected by the component of the new law.”

Harris addressed the building requirements imposed by the law .

“There are very specific requirements set out by the state for what it means to be a free-standing surgical outpatient center. They include all things that are good patient care, but some of them assume a different kind of acuity of surgical procedure than abortion, so they require surgical rooms to be a certain square footage and other things that aren’t really necessary to provide safe abortion care.”

The screening process for those waiting to get an abortion will also change, said Harris.

“The new law requires that health centers screen women for coercion to have an abortion. Many do this already…The interesting thing about this component is the Michigan Penal Code was not changed. So health centers are going to be required to tell women that coercion to abort is a crime, but it is not actually a crime yet. It does put clinics in an interesting ethical position."

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