FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Lansing)—Michigan Catholic Conference Policy Advocate Rebecca Mastee testified today before the House Health Policy Committee in support of legislation that will protect women from unacceptable and harmful abortion practices, facilities, and practitioners. The legislation, House Bill 5711, combines several existing bills into one “pro life omnibus” bill that addresses, in part, abortion clinic abuses that were discussed at a March 15th Senate subcommittee hearing.
Among the more egregious facts that emerged from the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Licensing & Regulatory Affairs hearing was the fact that while 99 percent of the abortions in Michigan in 2010 were performed at abortion clinics, only four of those 32 clinics are actually licensed.
“This bill will help to ensure the abortion industry is held to standards that recognize the importance of safety and the proper treatment of women,” Mastee testified before the committee today. “The additional precautions included in this legislation are really common sense measures of care—and should not be controversial, if the well-being of women is truly of utmost concern.”
House Bill 5711, sponsored by State Representative Bruce Rendon (R-Lake City), amends the Public Health Code to accomplish the following:
- Require abortionists with a history of medical licensure violations or history of multiple civil lawsuits for causing injury from abortions to carry a minimum amount of malpractice insurance or equivalent security,
- Change the standard for when an abortion facility must be licensed as an outpatient surgical facility, which would license 28 of the 32 abortion clinics that remain unlicensed,
- Prescribe humane disposition of fetal remains from abortions and adjust protocols for handling miscarriages and stillbirths,
- Provide materials and screening protocols to identify women who are being coerced into seeking an abortion, and require an anti-coercion sign to be posed in abortion clinics, and
- Require FDA approved protocols for use of the “abortion pill” (RU-486) and prohibit remote use of RU-486 through “webcam” consultation, a practice that the abortion industry introduced in Iowa in 2008.
Ms. Mastee’s full testimony before the House Health Policy Committee is below.
Testimony of Rebecca Mastee, Policy Advocate, Michigan Catholic Conference
Madam Chair and members of the committee, I am Rebecca Mastee with the Michigan Catholic Conference. I recently joined the Conference, and in doing so, I look forward to working with you on health policies which promote life and women’s health. I thank you for the opportunity to testify today in favor of these important, comprehensive reforms to abortion practices in this state, which will serve to safeguard women.
As indicated at a recent LARA Senate subcommittee hearing on abortion clinic abuses in this state, there is need for the abortion industry and its practices to be accountable to the women they see. This bill will help to ensure the abortion industry is held to standards that recognize the importance of safety and the proper treatment of women.
Previously, in this legislative session, the Catholic Conference has publically supported bills to prevent coercive abortions and also bills which would require the humane disposal of aborted human fetal remains. We reaffirm our support for both.
The additional precautions included in this legislation are really common sense measures of care—and should not be controversial, if the well-being of women is truly of utmost concern. This omnibus bill ultimately seeks to protect women from unacceptable and harmful medical practices, facilities, and practitioners.
With this legislation, women will be assured that the abortion facility they enter has been inspected and meets minimum state licensing standards, while also being assured that an abortion provider will be physically present, rather than impersonally communicating via the internet, during what is often a stressful time, and for which a physical examination is necessary.
One final note—I had the opportunity to attend the telemedicine demonstration recently hosted by this committee. Prohibiting abortion via webcam, is entirely consistent with the desire to expand telemedicine services. Telemedicine is patient-centered and designed to assist a doctor’s existing patient with basic, routine monitoring for either a patient with high risk of traveling or one who may likely be readmitted needlessly. Whereas, the utilization of webcams for an abortion provider’s practice is not patient-centered, nor is it routine. It may surely be convenient for the abortion provider, but it is not in the best interest of the woman. She is likely unfamiliar with this absent provider and the drug she will receive or the side-effects she may experience. Frankly, women deserve better—such as the assurance of a present provider, in a licensed and inspected facility. Please implement these safeguards to help protect women.
On behalf of the Michigan Catholic Conference, I encourage your support.
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.
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