This week, the House Committee on Families held a hearing to discuss bills that would ban a standard abortion procedure and punish doctors who perform the procedure with two years in prison. It’s the latest in a long list of GOP-led attempts to sacrifice our reproductive rights to pander to religious conservatives—and Michiganders are not having it.
Unsurprisingly anti-choice organizations and legislators took the opportunity to spread ridiculous propaganda designed to mislead people about a safe, legal medical procedure. In the bill, the method is referred to as “dismemberment abortion,” which is not a medical term, but a meaningless buzz phrase made up to scare you. During their testimony, speakers repeatedly used terms like brutality to in reference to the procedure—even though there’s no basis, medical or otherwise, for that kind of description.
This is the same kind of language we saw used to slander common-sense abortion legislation in New York and Virginia earlier this year. It’s the same kind of language Republicans use in their repeated (and baseless) attacks on groups like Planned Parenthood that help folks across the country access quality reproductive health care.
So let’s talk about what these bills would actually do—take decisions about how best to provide health care from the people most qualified to make them: doctors. These laws would put medical providers into a horrible position where they’re forced to choose between risking prison time and providing substandard care for their patients.
Of course, our elected officials have no desire to micromanage how heart surgeons or dermatologists do their jobs—probably because this kind of legislation has nothing to do with concern for patients and everything to do with making it more difficult for Michiganders to get an abortion.
The method abortion ban isn’t the only attack on reproductive rights we’ve seen in the state legislature lately. In fact, Republicans have introduced a total of seven anti-abortion bills this year, including a ban on abortions past 20 weeks, a requirement that the state not contract with any agency that provides abortions, and increased reporting requirements for abortion providers.
Luckily, these bills have no chance of becoming law with Gretchen Whitmer in the governor’s office—but that doesn’t mean they don’t matter. With a Supreme Court decision overturning federal abortion protections looking increasingly likely, protecting reproductive rights at the state level is more important than ever. We can’t allow the GOP’s dangerous rhetoric to go unchallenged—so it’s time to stand up, fight back and stop the lies.