Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed an anti-abortion omnibus bill on Friday that imposes restrictions on abortion clinics and physicians. In a surprise, the governor vetoed a separate bill that would have prohibited Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan from including abortion in its standard health coverage.
The Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature passed both anti-abortion bills in a lame-duck session, sparking statewide protests. The bill that Snyder signed on Friday, HB5711, regulates abortion clinics as hospital operating rooms, requires doctors to screen women for coercion before providing abortions, and bans telemedicine to prescribe first-trimester medication abortions. The bill also regulates the disposal of fetal remains after abortions.
"To be screened for coercion is a reasonable thing," Snyder told The Detroit News. "It is really a question of women's health and safety."
Abortion rights advocates said the bill is intended to impose onerous regulations on abortion clinics that could force them to shut down. “This bill was meant to ban abortion in Michigan, and it was pushed through in a lame-duck session by legislators who were voted out of office because of their extreme views on women’s health," said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
Snyder said he vetoed the abortion insurance bill because it would have eliminated coverage for women who had been raped or whose lives were in danger, and it dictates what kinds of coverage a private insurance company can offer. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is the largest health insurance provider in the state.
"It just went too far," Snyder said after vetoing the bill.
Snyder said he felt pressure from advocates on both sides of the issue as he closely considered the abortion bills. The advocates were "threatening and attacking me before I even said what I was going to do," he said.
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99 Problems (JAY-Z)
Eric Fehrnstrom, senior campaign adviser for Mitt Romney, <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/06/03/494238/fehrnstrom-shiny-objects-women/" target="_hplink">said on Sunday</a> that issues pertaining to women's reproductive rights, such as abortion and birth control, were "shiny objects" meant to distract voters from the real issues. "Mitt Romney is pro-life," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "He'll govern as a pro-life president, but you're going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people's attention from the Obama performance on the economy. This is not a social issue election."
The Senate will vote Thursday on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would expand and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and make it illegal for employers to punish women for bringing up pay disparity issues. Dana Perino, a Fox News contributor and former press secretary for President George W. Bush, <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/30/perino-equal-pay-issue-is-a-distraction-for-just-48-hours/" target="_hplink">called the equal pay issue</a> "a distraction" from the country's real financial problems last week. "Well, it's just yet another distraction of dealing with the major financial issues that the country should be dealing with," Perino said. "This is not a job creator."
Just My Imagination (The Temptations)
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whose home state's legislature recently defunded Planned Parenthood and voted to pass a bill that would allow employers to deny women birth control coverage, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/john-mccain-war-on-women_n_1455591.html" target="_hplink">delivered a floor speech</a> in which he insisted that the war on women is something imaginary for Democrats to "sputter about." "My friends, this supposed 'War on Women' or the use of similarly outlandish rhetoric by partisan operatives has two purposes, and both are purely political in their purpose and effect: The first is to distract citizens from real issues that really matter and the second is to give talking heads something to sputter about when they appear on cable television," he said.
Butterfly Fly Away (Miley & Billy Ray Cyrus)
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tried to trivialize concerns about the legislative "war on women" by comparing it to a "war on caterpillars." "If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we'd have problems with caterpillars," Priebus <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-05/priebus-says-gender-battle-as-fictonal-as-caterpillar-war.html" target="_hplink">said in an April interview</a> on Bloomberg Television. "It's a fiction."
Distraction (Angels And Airwaves)
Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Sarah Steelman (R) took heat from her opponents in May when she contended that Democratic lawmakers' focus on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act was "a distraction" from the issues they should be dealing with instead. "I think it's unfortunate that the Democrats have made a political football out of this thing, which I think is what they keep doing to distract from real problems that are facing our nation," she said in an interview with St. Louis Public Radio.
We Don't Care (Kanye West)
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) defended the Republican Party in April for going after insurance coverage for contraception by arguing that women don't actually care about contraception. "Women don't care about contraception," she said on ABC's The View. "They care about jobs and the economy and raising their families and all those other things."