Barely a day after passing controversial right-to-work legislation, the Republican-controlled Michigan legislature began moving two divisive bills aimed at limiting abortions.
One measure passed by the state Senate Wednesday would tighten licensing requirements on abortion clinics and another approved by a House committee and moved to the floor would "allow health care providers to refuse service based on moral objections, religious reasons, or matters of conscience," the Detroit Free Press
Both bills, which were approved along party lines with most Democrats objecting, are expected to reach Republican Gov. Mitch Snyder's desk for his signature over the holidays as state legislators hurry to wrap up this year's session.
The measures would join two other pieces of abortion-related legislation already on the governor's desk that the Free Press reported "would limit abortion coverage on policies sold on a statewide health insurance exchange unless consumers purchase it as an add-on to their policy."
The clinic licensing measure drew particularly hard criticism from Democratic lawmakers opponents and abortion-rights advocates, who said some of the requirements, such as having to undergo intense questioning by a doctor and setting strict guidelines for the disposal of fetal remains, interferes too much with a woman's personal choices.
According to the Free Press, one Democratic representative said it puts doctors "in the position of asking questions and being perceived as a part of law enforcement."
Democratic state Sen. Coleman Young II, the son of former Detroit Mayor Coleman Young, called the Republican bills "just one more attempt to push an ideological agenda to stop a woman's right to choose."
Republican lawmakers, however, disagreed, calling the bills "pro-woman" because they would make abortions safer.
Ed Rivet, spokesman for Michigan Right to Life, also said the bills were long overdue. He said the fact that the legislature had begun moving them all at once was "pretty remarkable."
"This is a bit of rewards for 25 years of work," he said.
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