ACLU, Planned Parenthood Blast Redundant, Unnecessary Ban on Abortion Method

May 28, 2008

LANSING — Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan and the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan are deeply disappointed, today, in the Michigan House for once again playing politics with women’s health and passing Senate Bill 776. The groups vowed to hold legislators accountable for their SB 776 vote in the upcoming election and urged the governor to veto SB 776.

This redundant bill, passed by the Senate on the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, prohibits a rarely used, yet medically necessary abortion method that was already banned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Furthermore, the bill does not provide an exception to protect a woman’s health and will not prevent a single unintended pregnancy in Michigan. This is the fourth time the Michigan Legislature has attempted to ban this abortion method.

“This legislature needs to get serious about reducing the rate of unintended pregnancy and the need for abortion,” said Margy Long, Vice President of Advocacy and Communications at Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan. “Politicians have the opportunity to move forward commonsense prevention policies like insurance coverage of contraceptives and increased access to family planning, emergency contraception, and comprehensive sex education. Our elected officials instead chose to waste precious time and resources under political pressure from special interest groups, when they should be addressing the state’s many real challenges such as the economy, soaring gas prices, escalating home foreclosures and out-of-reach health care."

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an identical federal abortion ban that did not include a health exception—overturning thirty plus years of precedent requiring abortion restrictions to include an exception protecting women’s health. This federal law is currently in effect in Michigan and therefore, passing a Michigan law was redundant and unnecessary.

“Senate Bill 776 is political pandering at its worst. Our legislature should not cower to the bullying of Right to Life and should instead tend to real concerns facing Michigan,” said Shelli Weisberg, Legislative Director for the ACLU of Michigan. “We are encouraged, however, by the governor’s impending veto. It’s unfortunate that this will have to end at her desk as opposed to the House floor where this should have died.”

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