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Michigan Senate panel approves anti-abortion bill

Michigan Senate Republicans

The state Senate Judiciary Committee has approved legislation that would require clinics and doctor’s offices where abortions are performed to be licensed and inspected. Critics of the bill say its real purpose is to put abortion providers out of business.

Rick Jones chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

“The purpose is to make sure that clinics are licensed and safe. Certainly, a state that licenses junkyards, tattoo parlors, and used car lots would want to license abortion clinics,” he said.

At one point in the hearing, Jones accused a clinic in metro Detroit of providing fetal remains to laboratories.

“Isn’t it true that you have a private lab show up at your clinic to harvest parts?” he asked Clinic CEO Renee Chelian.

 “No. And, sir, you are a liar,” responded Chelian. “You have never taken the time to find out the facts, because you are 100 percent wrong. I hope you’re embarrassed, and you’ll take that back to whoever gave you that information,” she said.

Jones says the information came from someone who contacted his office. And he acknowledged he does not know if it’s true.

Critics of the legislation say there’s nothing wrong with clinics being inspected – what’s wrong, they say, is making abortion clinics the only out-patient surgical centers subject to the requirement. They say the legislation would also discourage doctors from becoming OB GYNs and make it harder for women to safely abort a pregnancy.

Jones says the legislation could be voted on by the full Senate as soon as next month. The legislation would also make it a crime to threaten or coerce a woman into having an abortion.

The legislation was very contentious when it was debated by the state House. Two female Democrats were punished by House GOP leaders for remarks they made during the debate.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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