This is the email I received in response to my previously published email to my State Representative regarding the dangerous abortion legislation being forced through Michigan's Congress. This is why I vote. Kate Segal, I will vote for you again and again.
(Email after the jump)
Thank you for contacting my office with your thoughts on extreme and dangerous abortion legislation that is currently being considered by the Michigan Legislature. I believe that an open line of communication between citizens and their elected officials is the key to providing an effective and responsible government. I apologize for the delay in replying to you; my office has been responding to thousands of individuals who have expressed similar concerns over this legislation.
House Bills 5711, 5712 and 5713 were just introduced on May 31, 2012 and despite a crowded list of individuals - including several medical professionals - wishing to testify against this legislation; the bills only received the one hearing before they were fast-tracked out of committee and onto the House floor. The rushed process provided little time for legislators to review or discuss the legislation and severely limited public input.
Together, these bills would ban abortions after 20 weeks and do not allow for health exceptions to preserve the mother’s life, or for an exception if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. They also create several scenarios that would allow for criminal charges to be brought against doctors who provide abortion services. The bills institute an onerous and bureaucratic licensing and regulatory process and enact expensive new fees that are intended to shut down many clinics. They invade the important and sacred doctor/patient relationship by requiring new screenings to determine if a woman is being coerced and create another new windfall for insurance companies by requiring doctors to carry $1 Million in additional medical liability insurance.
House Bill 5711 was voted on by the entire Michigan House on June 13, 2012. Every Democratic amendment to the bill was "gaveled down" without a recorded vote, including amendments that would have focused on prevention of unintended pregnancies - the only way to realistically eliminate the need for abortions. These bills - as written - do not have any provisions that focus on pregnancy prevention. Unfortunately, against my strong objections HB 5711 passed 70-39 and was sent to the Michigan Senate for their consideration.
Ultimately, these bills will eliminate most women’s access to reproductive healthcare facilities by forcing the vast majority of clinics to close and forcing doctors out of our state. If enacted, Michigan would have some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country that could prevent women from having access to other health services and even contraception. This legislation represents another example of how out-of-touch and extremist politicians are declaring a "war on women" in order to appease special interest groups in an election year. I will continue to fight this unconscionable attempt to criminalize doctors, restrict women’s rights, and turn a legal and safe medical procedure into one that is difficult to provide, difficult to obtain and dangerous to women.
Democratic Floor Leader
Michigan House of Representatives
Swoon. I love it when the people representing me actually take the time to listen to what I have to say. I also love it when they care enough to fight for legal protections and against regulations that will make it even more difficult to be a woman. I know my email didn't change her vote, but it sure does feel nice to find someone I can agree with every now and then.