MCC, Physicians to Lawmakers: RHA Harmful to Women’s Health, Safety
Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC), licensed physicians, and other pro-life organizations explained why the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) would harm the health and safety of vulnerable women as lawmakers took testimony on the package for the first time this week.
Two experienced physicians and certified OB-GYNs — Dr. Michelle Monticello and Dr. Catherine Stark — provided testimony to the House Health Policy Committee Thursday about the RHA, which would repeal numerous health and safety regulations around the practice of abortion.
The RHA, introduced by pro-abortion lawmakers and supported by the Governor, would repeal requirements that abortion clinics are licensed and inspected by the state to ensure they are safe and sanitary. The RHA would also remove the requirement to provide a woman a right to know about possible complications from abortion through the informed consent process prior to an abortion.
Dr. Monticello explained the informed consent period provides women information about how abortion is performed, complications that may arise and how to address them, and an opportunity for women to ask questions about the procedure. Dr. Monticello also emphasized that pressuring a woman into abortion is a form of abuse and that the informed consent period allows for the medical provider to screen for possible coercion.
Dr. Stark told committee members that in addition to repealing inspection and licensing standards on clinics, the RHA would also repeal reporting requirements on abortion clinics that provide the public information, such as complications that arise out of abortions.
“If you were the patient, or your daughter or your sister, wouldn’t you want to know which abortion clinics have a high rate of complications, or which clinic has had their license revoked due to dangerous practices?” Dr. Stark said in her testimony. “How would you know without reporting, licensing and inspections?”
Rebecca Mastee, policy advocate for MCC, shared with committee members what specific regulations would be repealed if lawmakers voted in favor the RHA, including requirements that surgical procedures must be performed by licensed and credentialed health professionals and that surgical equipment to be stored in sanitary environments.
Mastee explained to the lawmakers who were not present in 2012 — when MCC and other organizations advocated for the abortion clinic licensing law the RHA seeks to repeal — that at the time, most abortion clinics in the state were operating with little or no accountability. The few that had been inspected by the state in the years leading up to the legislation were flagged for serious violations.
Representatives from Right to Life of Michigan (RLM) and Citizens for Traditional Values (CTV) also shared testimony against the RHA package in committee. Lawmakers did not vote on the package Thursday, but a vote could be held soon.
Earlier this week, MCC, along with RTL, CTV, and several other statewide organizations formed a joint effort to oppose the legislation under the name of the Coalition to Protect a Woman’s Right to Know.
The Coalition issued a press release this week establishing the extensive opposition to the RHA bills, which collectively would repeal nearly every pro-life law and abortion limitation on the books in Michigan, many of which Michigan voters have said they support keeping in place.
MCC, along with the Coalition, will continue to voice opposition to these bills before lawmakers and the general public.
Act Now: Tell Lawmakers to Reject the RHA
MCC this week issued an action alert to Catholic Advocacy Network members to contact their lawmakers to urge their no vote against RHA, and more than 500 messages have been sent to lawmakers from people across the state — thank you for your participation!
It is important for you and all Catholics who believe in the dignity of human life to know that the RHA not only would harm the health and safety of vulnerable women in this state but would also repeal nearly every pro-life law on the books.
Your voice is crucial to showing lawmakers that their constituents do not support removing these health and safety regulations that protect women or these widely supported limits on abortion, such as ensuring taxpayers do not have to pay for others’ abortions.