Federal Legislation – Current/Pending

On April 11, 2007 the United States Senate voted to permit federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.  The vote was 63-34. Both of our US Senators, Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow voted in favor of federal funding of this research. The language of the measure is similar to that of House Bill H.R 3 which passed January 11, 2007, 253-174.  Implementation of the measure, how much federal money would be available and how it would be administered is yet to be determined.

President Bush has said repeatedly that he would veto any measure that allowed for the destruction of living human embryos for research purposes and has said he will veto this current measure. The votes for these bills are not sufficient to withstand a presidential veto.

Also passed in the Senate on April 11 was S 30, also known as the “Hope Offered through Principled and Ethical Stem Cell Research Act”, or the “Hope Act”. This measure was approved by a vote of 70-28 and its language would encourage federal dollars to be spent on research that DOES NOT take the life of the human embryo

Michigan legislators’ votes were as follows: In the U.S. Senate, voting in favor of destructive human embryonic stem cell research (S 3) were Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow. In the U.S. House, voting for the same kind of destructive research (HR 3) were Representatives Dingell, Kildee, Kilpatrick, Levin (Sander) and Upton.

Voting against such destructive research on HR 3 were Camp, Ehlers, Hoekstra, Knollenberg, McCotter, Miller, Rogers, Stupak, and Walberg

Senators Levin and Stabenow voted NO on the Hope Act through Principled and Ethical Stem Cell Research Act. As noted above, this act would have prohibited federal dollars from being spent on destructive embryonic stem cell research.

 

CORD BLOOD STEM CELL ACT
Longtime pro-life Congressman Chris Smith introduced new legislation on July 25, 2003 that will significantly increase the nation’s inventory of stem cells obtained from placentas and umbilical cords. Such ethical alternatives to embryonic stem cell research have been proven to successfully treat a number of life-threatening diseases.

While blood from the placenta and umbilical cord is rich in stem cells, the nation’s inventory of about 20,000 units of blood is too small and not genetically diverse enough, meaning ethnic minorities frequently find difficulties in securing timely transplants with units currently available.
“By significantly increasing the nation’s supply of genetically diverse core blood units, treatment for several diseases such as sickle cell anemia, leukemia, lymphoma and other blood and immune deficiency diseases, will be more widely available to the American people,” Smith said.

The pro-life bill, HR 2852, would authorize $45 million over the next two years to go to blood centers that agree to collect, prepare and store the blood units for use in treatments.

The bill has the backing of the American Cancer Society and major blood centers. Principal original cosponsors of the bill include Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Edolphus Towns of New York.
LifeNews.com, July 25, 2003

MEDICARE BILLS
Significant changes in Medicare and the addition of a prescription drug benefit are proposed in both a Senate bill (S 1) and a House bill (HR 1), and differences in the bills are being resolved in conference committee. Important pro-life issues are at stake.

Avoiding rationing in medical care: Both bills as finally adopted preserve, with respect to medical services, the basic ability of senior citizens who choose to do so to add their own money on top of the government Medicare contribution in order to get unrationed, unmanaged health insurance through ‘private fee-for-service’ plans.

The National Right to Life Committee will be working to protect the right of older Americans covered by Medicare to add their own money, if they wish, in order to get unrationed, unmanaged health insurance, and to ensure that such health insurance is preserved. At present, there are only a few private fee-for-service plans around the country. The real need for them will arise when baby boomers start retiring. When this demand comes, it is likely insurance companies will find it economically feasible to be there to meet it.

Avoiding rationing of prescription drugs: The House bill, but not the Senate Bill, allows the new prescription drug benefit to be offered by plans with unmanaged access to drugs, and allows senior citizens to add their own money on top of the government contribution in order to get such unrationed drug insurance. The Senate bill, as passed, denies older Americans this right, allowing them to get the prescription drug benefit only in a managed care form.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) have pledged to press in conference committee for incorporating in the Senate bill the provision to provide the subsidized prescription drug benefit as an unmanaged benefit whose premium amount is not subject to governmental approval. The National Right to Life Committee will be working to ensure that older Americans have this right to get unrationed drug insurance.
-Choose Life, National Right to Life Committee, July/August 2003

CLONING EXPLOITS WOMEN

One impact of cloning human embryos for research is the physical risk to the women who donate the eggs. A Senate hearing in March illuminated the scope of the potential for injury. The people most likely to be hurt are the poor.

Cloning supporters concede millions of women would be needed to donate eggs, if cloning is allowed to proceed.

Jayd Henricks, congressional liaison with the Family Research Council, said one expert testified the harvesting process would seriously injure one percent of them. “We’re talking about thousands and thousands of women that we know will be injured through this procedure, Hendricks said.

Pro-life Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) is the Senate sponsor of the Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2003 (S 245). “Anytime you put your body through what’s called the super-ovulation process, there’s a certain percentage of women that are going to have physical problems or psychological problems,” Brownback said. He also said women would be paid $3,000 to $5,000 each, meaning poor women would be the most likely candidates for donation, making their bodies manufacturing plants for a hot commodity-the eggs used to clone human embryos for research.

The Brownback bill would ban all forms of cloning human embryos. He emphasized that cloning for research is currently legal in America and is under way at several labs. He also said the proposed law is needed because it is also legal to pay for women’s eggs in order to do research with them.

ACTION:  Please contact your senators and urge them to support Senator Brownback’s Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2003 (S 245). Let your senator know that the Brownback legislation is the only bill among several competing versions that you support. Emphasize that we need a bill that bans all forms of human cloning.
-Pro-life Infonet, April 1, 2003

PATENTS ON HUMAN BEINGS
Thanks to an amendment sponsored by pro-life Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL), scientists and research universities would be prohibited from obtaining a patent on a human being.

The amendment says, “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this act may be used to issue patents on claims directed to or encompassing a human organism.”

Weldon, a doctor by profession, successfully added the amendment to the Commerce Justice State Appropriations bill (HR 2799). The amendment was passed July 22, 2003 by voice vote and is now a part of the bill.

John Cusey of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, said the amendment is a “big development because it is the first time the House of Representatives has taken the position that humans should not be patented.”

Paige Cunningham, chairman of the board of Americans United for Life, says the Patent Office granted a patent for animal cloning in 2001 to the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA).

Cunningham said the patent “was written so broadly that it appears to include human cloning and products of cloning in its protection.”

After receiving the patent, ICTA wrote that its scientists “now have rights over the product, i.e., any cloned human embryo or person born under the process.”
-LifeNews.com, July 22, 2003

PARENTAL CONSENT IN MICHIGAN
Controversial legislation would make it harder for teens to terminate pregnancies without their parents’ consent.

About 600 times a year, a pregnant teen asks a Michigan judge to allow an abortion without permission from her parents. A 1990 law otherwise requires parental consent for those under age 18.

Most times-in 79 percent of the 628 cases last year-the judge agrees, deciding it is either in the teen’s best interest or that the girl is mature and informed enough to make the decision.

Rep. William O’Neil (D-Allen Park), who will be speaking at Lifespan’s Breakfast, on October 11, introduced legislation after he said Wayne County judges told him that girls were “judge shopping” for a sympathetic magistrate and that courts were almost routinely approving the petitions. He said allowing abortions without parental oversight is a grave matter.

The House passed the bill (HR 4478), 73-25, on June 24, and the Senate is likely to vote this fall. The head of the Senate Families and Human Services Committee, Sen. Bill Hardiman (R-Kentwood) favors the legislation. That could put it on a path for a rare veto override vote. Gov. Jennifer Granholm opposes the bill as it stands, said Liz Boyd, her spokeswoman.

A 2001 partial state survey by the Supreme Court found more than 90 percent of waiver requests are granted, but a 2002 report on the entire state put it at 79 percent. Not all counties fully accounted for the outcome of the petitions.
Of the 628 petitions filed in 2002, 494 were granted, while judges dismissed or denied just 13 cases. There were 33 cases where the teen withdrew her request and the remaining 88 cases were pending or not recorded for the report.

O’Neil’s bill would spell out what judges should consider such as the girl’s relationship with her parents and her knowledge of alternatives to abortion; prohibit a teen from filing a second time after the petition was denied, although the denial could still be appealed; require courts to appoint a representative for the girl’s parents if an optional representative for the girl is also appointed; and require that a teen go to a court in the county where at least one of her parents resides. -Excerpts from mlive.com, July 20, 2003

Historical Legislative Archives:

A Chronology of Michigan’s Major Abortion Court Decisions and Legislative Activities – 1972 through early 2003

REFERENDUM B
In 1972, Michigan voters rejected a ballot proposal that would have legalized abortion during the first three months of pregnancy. The vote was 1.96 million to 1.27 million.

ABORTION LEGALIZED

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court issued the Roe v. Wade decision. Legal abortion can now be obtained in medical facilities in Michigan under certain circumstances.

MEDICAID FUNDING OF ABORTION                                     

In 1975, the Michigan Legislature passed a bill that included a prohibition on using state money for abortions, but Attorney General Frank Kelley ruled the bill unconstitutional.

In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Hyde Amendment thus ruling that states are not obligated to pay for non-therapeutic abortions. Governor William Milliken and the Department of Social Services (DSS) decided that Michigan would continue to fund Medicaid abortions with state money. The Legislature passed a resolution for a national convention that would draft an anti-abortion amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In 1978, Governor Milliken signed the first five of his 11 vetoes on the Medicaid-funded abortion issue. The vetoed bills would have banned Medicaid-funded abortions or limited payment in the DSS budget to $1.

In 1979, an Ingham County Circuit Court judge ruled that the Governor overstepped his authority by vetoeing the legislation. The Michigan Court of Appeals overturned the decision and legislators appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court. The Governor vetoed an additional anti-Medicaid funding bill.

In 1980, the Michigan Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of the 1979 case. Governor Milliken vetoed two more bills. The Senate voted to override the veto, but the House attempt was nine votes short. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled (Harris v. McRae) that states do not have to pay for abortions for indigent women.

In 1981, Governor Milliken vetoed two more attempts to prohibit Medicaid funding of abortions.

In 1982, the Senate overrode the Governor’s 1981 veto, but the House fell three votes short. Before Milliken left office, he issued another veto.

In 1983, Governor James Blanchard vetoed two attempts to ban Medicaid funding. There were no override votes.

In 1984, the Senate overrode the 1983 veto to ban Medicaid funding, but the House fell one vote short.

In 1985, there were two override attempts, one in March and one in October. Both fell two votes short in the House.

In 1986, language prohibiting Medicaid-funded abortions was attached to the entire Medicaid section of the DSS budget bill. Governor Blanchard vetoed it, and an override attempt fell six votes short in the House.

The Medicaid budget was continued to March 15, 1987, and a special Senate-House panel was set up to review the issue and report by February 14, 1987.

In 1987, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 36, which extended the Medicaid budget through the end of the fiscal year and dissolved the special joint panel. Governor Blanchard vetoed the line-item prohibiting Medicaid abortions.

Michigan pro-life organizations began an initiative drive which resulted in the passage of Public Act 59 of 1987, the law which bans Medicaid funding for abortions. The ballot committee circulated petitions to initiate the law and collected more than 192,000 signatures needed to place the issue before the Legislature. Right to Life – Lifespan was involved in securing petition signatures in the metro Detroit area. The Legislature voted by a simple majority to make the petition law in June 1987. (The governor may not veto any law which results from an initiative.)

In 1987, Michigan paid about $5.9 million for 18,000 abortions and was one of 14 states which paid for Medicaid abortions.

In 1988, The People’s Campaign for Choice, an opposing group, completed a petition drive to place a referendum on PA 59 of 1987 on the November 1988 ballot. The petition drive was supported by a coalition of approximately 40 organizations. To place the referendum on the ballot, approximately 120,000 signatures had to be filed. The “choice” coalition filed approximately 240,000 signatures.  

Attorney General Frank Kelley ruled that “when a petition seeking a referendum, which on its face meets legal requirements, is filed, the signatures appearing on that petition are presumed valid and the statute at issue is stayed or suspended until either the petitions are found to be invalid or a vote of the people occurs.” Thus, Medicaid funding for abortions continued until the referendum decided the issue in November 1988. The proposal to ban Medicaid-funded abortions was supported by a margin of 57% to 43%.

In February, 1991 the Michigan Court of Appeals struck down a ban on state-funded abortions for the poor. The Court stated that prohibiting Medicaid-funded abortions violated women’s rights to privacy and equal protection under the state Constitution and that the Michigan Constitution protected the right to have an abortion. The suit was brought by the ACLU. However, the ban continued while the suit was appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court.

On July 9, 1992 the Michigan Supreme Court in Doe v. Babcock, upheld the law to ban Medicaid-funded abortions.

There have been a few changes to PA 59 since its passage. In 1993, the U.S. Congress relaxed some of the provisions of the Hyde Amendment, specifically to include payment for Medicaid recipients for abortions following rape or incest and also, that old standby, health, rather than life, of the mother. At first, Michigan was going to refuse the broadening of the provisions of this measure, but threatened by the loss of all other Medicaid funding, included it in our state Medicaid benefit.

ABORTION INSURANCE COVERAGE

An attempt was made in early January 2001 to effect the passage and signing into law of a package of bills, HB 4828, SB 645 and SB 94 that would have impacted the insurance coverage of abortion. Abortion coverage would be removed from standard insurance plans. The employer could decide to provide abortion coverage (with a rider to the policy) to all employees so long as the employees were informed that they would be receiving the coverage and that their dependents would be able to use that coverage without their knowledge.

Governor Engler chose not to sign the bills, exercising what is known as a “pocket veto” and sent the bills back to the legislature. Mr. Engler, a long-time defender of pro-life laws, disagreed with the way the bills should be written or implemented and not with the concept itself.

ABORTION REGULATION AND REPORTING
In 1978, the Legislature enacted legislation requiring the Michigan Department of Public Health (MDPH) to report annually on the number of abortions in the state, the age and marital status of women or girls who obtain abortions and the number who have complications.

In 1999, the Legislature passed PA 207 and 208 requiring abortion clinics to meet the same standards as other freestanding outpatient surgical facilities. The reporting bills require all physicians treating any woman with an abortion complication to report that complication to the Michigan Department of Community Health.

ADOPTION TAX CREDIT
In 1999, legislation was passed to add a provision to the Michigan tax code that parallels the federal tax credit for expenses relating to the adoption of a child.

ASSAULT OF PREGNANT WOMAN
Effective June 1, 2001, a person who assaults a pregnant woman with the intention of causing a miscarriage or stillbirth which results in the death of the baby is guilty of a felony punishable for a term of years up to life in prison. If the conduct results in physical injury to the embryo or fetus, the person would be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year or a fine of not more than $1,000 or both.

The change was brought about by the conviction of Michael Fletcher in the murder of his wife, Leann. Mrs. Fletcher was  pregnant with their second child when she was killed. Mr. Fletcher was originally charged with felony in the death of the child, but the charge was dismissed because Mrs. Fletcher did not give birth to the child.

INFORMED CONSENT
On May 19, 1991, Senate Bill 141 (S-2) was approved by the Senate requiring, before an abortion, informed consent, a 24-hour waiting period and medically accurate photographs with descriptions of a fetus at the gestational age of the patient’s.

On March 5, 1992, Senate Bill 141 (H-4) was approved by the House. The major difference between the House and Senate version of the bill was the elimination of photographs and the use of a brochure on abortion developed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

A House and Senate conference committee was appointed on March 12, 1992 to recommend a compromise between the two versions. However, the conference committee never reached an agreement, and the bill died by the end of the 1992 legislative session.

On June 29, 1992 the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote upheld most of the “Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act.” The Planned Parenthood of the Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey decision requires:

 (1) information on fetal development and alternatives to abortion.

 (2) physicians to keep detailed records for public disclosure.

 (3) parents to provide permission for minors to have an abortion, including going with the minor to receive information.

 (4) that a woman’s husband must be notified before she has an abortion (this was the only issue not upheld by the Court). 

On July 29, 1993, the medical misinformation act, PA 133, was enacted and took effect April 1, 1994. Highlights of the law are:

 (1) a physician or a qualified person must provide to a woman, at least 24-hours prior to an abortion, state-prepared  materials regarding her pregnancy and abortion procedures. This information must include depictions of a fetus at a stage closest to the woman’s pregnancy.

 (2) a state-prepared informed consent form must be signed immediately prior to an abortion.

In September 1993, the U.S. Congress approved a change in the Hyde amendment. The new Hyde Amendment provided Medicaid funds for abortions not only to save the life of the woman but also in cases of rape and incest. States were given until March 31, 1994 to comply.

In July 1994, a suit filed by the ACLU resulted in a Wayne County Circuit court ruling that struck down PA 133 on the grounds that it violated a woman’s right to privacy and also that it violated the Headlee amendment which prohibits the state from imposing duties on local government without providing funding. The ACLU had argued that local public health departments would be forced to add staff, buy ultrasound machines and provide other unnamed services to women seeking abortions.

In August 1994, the state Attorney General filed an appeal of the trial court’s decision which held that PA 133 (24-hour-delay/medical misinformation law) violates the state’s constitution.

On April 14, 1995, briefs were filed by the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy in the Michigan Attorney General’s appeal of the Circuit Court decision that PA 133 is unconstitutional.

Five and one-half years later, in April 2000, the conflicts were finally settled, and PA 133 was signed into law. Early in 2001, PA 345 was enacted to amend the Public Health Code and make some changes to PA 133, the most important of which was to provide that information necessary for legal Informed Consent obtained from the internet must be supplied by the Michigan Department of Community Health’s website rather than from abortion providers’ websites.

PARENTAL CONSENT

On February 23, 1990, Governor James Blanchard vetoed HB 5103 requiring parental consent for minors to obtain an abortion. However, Citizens for Parent’s Rights launched another initiative petition drive and gathered 332,000 signatures. The initiative was approved by a majority of legislators to become PA 211 of 1990.

On February 26, 1991, Planned Parenthood of Mid-Michigan, Planned Parenthood of South Central Michigan, and others filed a lawsuit in Kalamazoo Circuit Court challenging the constitutionality of the parental consent law. On March 29, the court denied the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction.

On March 21, 1991, the consent law went into effect. The law states that regardless of whether or not the minor is a Michigan resident, a person shall not perform an abortion on an unemancipated minor under the age of 18 years without first obtaining:
* the written consent of the minor and one of the parents/legal guardians; or

* a copy of a judicial waiver of parental consent granted by a probate judge in the county where the minor resides; or

* a physician’s certification of an emergency in which continuation of the pregnancy would create an immediate threat and grave risk to the life of the minor.

The law also states that a person who intentionally performs an abortion in violation of this act is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to civil action. A requirement was added for school districts to provide information on the act to students in grades six through 12.

On July 18, 1991 Public Act 80 was signed into law. It amended the parental consent law by deleting a requirement for school districts to provide information on the act to students in grades 6-12.

On August 5, 1992, Kalamazoo County Circuit Court Judge Philip Schaefer found the parental consent law unconstitutional based on the emergency provision. The court enjoined the law.

On November 18, 1992, PA 244 of 1992 passed and amended the parental consent law of 1990. The changes included defining medical emergency as that condition which, on the basis of a physician’s good faith clinical judgment, so complicates the medical condition of a pregnant woman as to necessitate an immediate abortion of that woman’s pregnancy to avert her death or for which a delay in performing an abortion will create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.

This language allows doctors more flexibility in determining when a medical emergency exists for a minor and conforms to language upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

On March 29, 1993, Kalamazoo County Circuit Judge Philip Schaefer lifted the restraining order for the parental consent law. It went into effect immediately.

PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION (INFANT PROTECTION ACT)

Efforts to enact a ban on partial-birth abortions failed, due to the vetoes of President Clinton, the Michigan Legislature enacted PA 273, which amended the Public Health Code to prohibit a physician or individual acting under the authority of a physician from performing partial-birth abortions.

The ACLU challenged the law in Federal Court before it could take effect. The law was struck down on July 1, 1997.

In 1998, a new partial-birth abortion bill was introduced in the Senate but died in the House Judiciary Committee.

In 1999, the Infant Protection Act was passed into law as PA 107. This measure made it a felony for a person to take any action upon a live infant with the intent to cause the infant’s death. The measure was signed into law on July 8, 1999, but a temporary injunction has blocked its implementation. In light of the U. S. Supreme Court decision in Stenberg v. Carhart, the Michigan law, as currently written, would not stand a constitutional challenge.

PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED SUICIDE
Placed on the Michigan ballot in 1998 by referendum from a group calling itself Merian’s Friends, this measure would have allowed physician-assisted suicide in Michigan.

Opposition from pro-life organizations was united under the ballot committee Citizens for Compassionate Care. The issue was widely debated on radio, TV, in public forums, letters to the editor, etc. The measure was defeated at the polls in November, 1998.

Similar measures have passed in Oregon and been defeated in Maine. To date, Oregon is the only state that permits physician-assisted suicide. The issue is expected to be raised in several other states, and it will come back to Michigan when those supporting it think they can win.

RU-486

Then Attorney General Jennifer Granholm delivered an opinion on March 13, 2001 that included RU-486 in the laws that pertain to abortion, stating that RU-486 results in an abortion and is subject to the laws of the State of Michigan pertaining to abortion.

SAFE DELIVERY OF NEWBORNS
PA 288 (SB 1052 and HB 5543) signed into law on January 1, 2001, allows a parent to safely surrender a newborn child (up to 72 hours after birth) to a hospital, police or fire station with protection from child abandonment laws. The parent is not required to leave her/his name or any other identifying information. The parents of the child have 28 days from birth to petition the courts to regain custody of the child. If they do not reclaim the child within this time period, all parental custodial rights will be terminated and the child will be placed for adoption.

UNION DUES
Union members in all professions are guaranteed the right to divert their union dues by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which requires employers and unions to accommodate employees’ religious beliefs.

WRONGFUL BIRTH LAWSUITS

In 1999, legislation was passed to insure that parents of disabled children will no longer be allowed to bring a suit against a physician for failing to prenatally diagnose a disability, which the parents claim would have prompted them to abort the child.

ABORTION FUNDING

Legislation to re-direct state funding from organizations that provide and advocate for abortions was introduced in June, 2000, but died at the end of the legislative session. The bill was originally offered as a way to prevent millions of tax dollars from being used by groups and organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, who openly promote abortion as a means of birth control. A great deal of government money (i.e. our tax dollars) goes to these organizations for programs that supposedly promote general reproductive health and prevent pregnancies. However, if these monies go to subsidize staff salaries and operational costs, other sources of income can then be used to promote and perform abortion. The thought is that public monies ought not provide a way for such organizations to promote an abortion agenda.

In 2001, Rep. Mark Jansen introduced HB 4655 to award state grants for family planning first to clinics that do not offer or refer for abortion. Only if there were no such clinic in a geographical area would such grants go to clinics that do provide abortion. This bill passed in the House on December 13, 2001, by a vote of 67-36. It is now in the Senate for consideration.

CHOOSE LIFE LICENSE PLATES

HB 4759 was introduced by Representative Gary Newell. The bill passed in the House by a vote of 68-35 on December 5, 2001; its companion bill, SB 466 was introduced in the Senate by Senator Valde Garcia.

HB4759 and SB 466 would have created a specialty license plate with the words “Choose Life.” “Choose Life” license plates have already been created and distributed in Florida. They are very popular and are the best-selling speciality plate in Florida. A similar bill was also passed into law in Louisiana. The proceeds from the sale of such license plates would be shared among organizations that help women carry their babies to term. Displaying a “Choose Life” license plate would encourage women to make their “choice” the choice of LIFE and would fund agencies to assist them with that choice.

These bills were not able to be completed because the Engler administration had a policy against creating any new specialty license plates.

On January 29, 2003, Senator Valde Garcia introduced SB 112 and it was referred to the Senate Transportation Committee where it is currently pending.
 
CONSCIENCE CLAUSE
Michigan has long had laws that provide employment protection for health care workers who have objections to participating in providing health care that violates their religious, ethical or moral beliefs. By all accounts, this “conscience” law has worked quite well.

However, as the range of health care situations has broadened since the inception of conscience laws, new health care workers, such as pharmacists, have not been included in the safety net. Dispensing RU-486 to clinics or physicians may well violate the conscience of a pro-life pharmacist. Health care workers who do not want to participate in passive euthanasia, including withholding food and fluids from incompetent patients are not covered. Cloning, embryonic stem cell harvesting and testing, and genetic manipulation have implications for the pro-life researcher.

Legislation introduced in 1999-2000 addressing these concerns died at the end of the legislative session.

HB 5158 was introduced by Rep. Steve Ehardt on October 9, 2001. This bill aimed to protect the conscience rights of healthcare workers, researchers and students. The House Health Policy Committee held several hearings in the fall of 2001, and the measure died in committee.

PREGNANT & PARENTING STUDENTS

Rep. Patty Lockwood introduced HB 4564 creating a fund for which colleges and universities could apply. This grant money would then be used to create an on-campus office that would provide information to pregnant and parenting students about resources available to help them carry their pregnancies to term and stay in school. The bill passed the House on December 13, 2001 with a vote of 97-4. It was introduced in the Senate as SB 878 by Senator Alan Sanborn and died in committee.

STILLBORN CHILD TAX EXEMPTION
On February 28, 2001, HB 4165, which provides a one-time dependent child tax exemption for families who have lost a child to a late-term stillbirth (after 20 weeks of pregnancy) was introduced. It is currently on the House floor waiting to be taken up for a vote.

The original bill, HB 5818, was introduced in May, 2000. Under its provisions, the grieving family would gain some relief from the unexpected burial costs. The physician delivering the child would provide a “Prenatal Death Certificate.” This would permit the family to name the child and obtain a tax credit. The House unanimously approved the bill, but only a week remained in the legislative session, and the bill died in the Senate without further action.

For a detailed summary of Michigan Abortion Statistics contact Michigan Abortion Statistics, Division for Vital Records & Health Statistics, Michigan Department of Community Health, 517-335-8705 or 517-335-8715;www.michigan.gov/mdch