Snyder outlaws Michigan ‘Skype abortions’
The advocacy group devoted to electing prolife women candidates praised Michigan Gov. Richard D. Snyder, who signed a law Dec. 28 banning “Skype abortions” in the Wolverine State, as well as setting up rules to protect women from coerced pregnancy termination and to dispose respectfully of the remains of unborn abortion victims.
“Michigan legislators and Governor Snyder are acting on the will of the pro-life citizens in the Wolverine State,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie J. Dannenfelser, who joined the organization’s network of more than 360,000 activists.
The term “Skype abortions” refers to the practice of physicians examining the patient in a web camera conversation before prescribing an abortion-inducing drug. This practice, also called a “telemed abortion” is now expressly forbidden. In the new law, the patient must be under the direct supervision of and at the same facility of the prescribing doctor.
In the case of surgical and drug-induced abortions, the law requires the doctor to physically secure written acknowledgement from the patient that she is not ending her pregnancy under duress. Coercing a woman to have an abortion is already a crime in the state.
The doctor must also inform the mother that she has the right to withdraw her consent at any time before the actual procedure is completed and collect contact information for another individual in case there are complications during the abortion that lead to death or injuries.
The governor said, “thoughtful, thorough information and training tools will be developed to ensure that women have the opportunity to review information regarding this type of coercion and the resources available to them.”
The law also requires the physician to provide the patient with a photograph or illustration and description of her unborn child.
The governor said the mother’s informed consent is a must.
“In my view, all coercion is wrong. Society should work to stop coercion in any form whether it’s bullying a classmate or forcing someone to get, or not get, an abortion,” he said.
“The bill adds inquiries for a physician or qualified health professional to screen patients regarding coercion to abort,” he said.
Dannenfelser said Michigan SBA List members, who were allied with activists from Michigan Right to Life, sent more than 1,000 messages to their legislators as the bill worked its way through to the governor’s desk.
Besides outlawing the practice of throwing the remains of aborted babies in trash bins, the law also established new procedures for all 32 of the state’s abortion clinic licensing and inspections, she said.
Rebecca Mastee, the policy advocate for the Michigan Catholic Conference, said, “Licensing and inspecting abortion clinics for health and safety standards will serve to better protect those women who, regrettably, choose the path of abortion.”
The Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives Rep. James “Jase” Bolger (R), said the governor did the right thing signing the bill. “If you set the rhetoric and false claims aside, the new law actually respects life, honors choice and protects women.”
Dannenfelser said the Michigan law sets up the prolife movement for success in the next year.
“This is a prelude to the possible pro-life gains to be made at the state level in 2013, when 27 states will enjoy a Republican majority in the legislature,” she said. “We expect these states to be fertile ground for pro-life legislation.”
In addition to Michigan, pro-life legislation is also moving forward in Texas and Ohio, she said.
Earlier this month, Texas Gov. J. Richard “Rick” Perry, announced his support for a bill that would prohibit abortion past 20 weeks, the point at which an unborn child can feel pain, he said.
In Ohio, legislators are committed to passing legislation that would re-direct taxpayer funding away from abortion businesses such as Planned Parenthood, and instead to entities that provide comprehensive health care for women, she said.