LANSING — The U.S. Supreme Court decision Monday that struck down sweeping anti-abortion laws in Texas should result in the repeal of similar laws in Michigan, members of the Michigan Progressive Women’s Caucus said today. In particular, the new Supreme Court ruling calls into question laws that attempt to regulate women’s health centers out of business while claiming the onerous restrictions are needed to protect women’s health, even though abortion is far safer than many other procedures carried out in surgical clinics.
“I am thrilled that the U.S. Supreme Court saw through these laws, which are nothing but an attempt to take away a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions,” said Rep. Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills). “Now that the Supreme Court has ruled the Texas law unconstitutional, it’s time to repeal similar laws in Michigan that also serve no purpose other than to shut down women’s health care centers and limit a woman’s health care options.”
In 2012, the Legislature passed a law that required Michigan abortion providers to be licensed as free-standing surgical outpatient facilities, similar to the ambulatory surgical center requirements in the Texas law that was struck down. The restrictions placed on women’s health centers go far beyond regulations on other outpatient surgical centers, such as those that perform liposuction or colonoscopies, even though those procedures have a far greater risk of patient mortality.
“The Texas decision calls into question the constitutionality of current Michigan statutes,” Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright (D-Muskegon) said. “We can do the smart thing and repeal the restrictions on women’s health care centers now, or we could let our attorney general waste millions of dollars defending an indefensible and unconstitutional law in court — just as he did with our state’s unconstitutional ban on marriage equality. I urge my colleagues to do the right thing and save Michigan taxpayers from paying wasted legal fees by repealing the restrictions on women’s health care centers.”
In a concurring opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said that it is unconstitutional to subject women’s health care centers to restrictions that don’t apply to other outpatient surgical centers. Justice Ginsberg said that the fact that these restrictions apply only to health care centers where abortions are performed demonstrate that the laws are not based on what’s best for women’s health, but instead exist solely to advance an anti-choice agenda.
“Abortion is already a safe procedure, and for the sake of women, we must keep it that way,” said Rep. Pam Faris (D-Clio). “If the Legislature is truly interested in protecting women’s health, there is much that we could do, from repealing the law requiring women to buy an insurance rider men do not need to get full coverage to enacting a law that lets all workers earn paid sick leave. The Progressive Women’s Caucus will always fight for women’s health, and against legislation that limits their ability to receive quality health care.”