Commentary: Does Michigan Abortion Bill Chip Away at Choice?

Commentary: Does Michigan Abortion Bill Chip Away at Choice?

Does a new Michigan abortion bill chip away at a woman's right to choose?

Published May 5, 2011

State Sen. David Robertson. (Photo: Bill Greenblatt/Landov)

Michigan State Sen. David Robertson has introduced a bill that would make it mandatory for all doctors in the state to give a pregnant woman a copy of her ultrasound before an abortion is preformed.

The new law would also require doctors to ask women if they’d like a detailed description of the ultrasound and offer the patient a chance to hear the fetus’ heartbeat. This would have to happen at a minimum of two hours before the abortion would be allowed to take place. Women would be required to sign a document confirming that the offers were made before the surgery.


Medical providers would be required, under the new law, to use the most technologically advanced ultrasound equipment that the center has on location so that the patient seeking the abortion has the most accurate picture of the fetus.

"The knowledgeable exercise of a woman's decision to have an abortion depends on the extent to which the woman receives sufficient information to make an informed choice regarding abortion," the bill says. "The decision to obtain an abortion is an important and often stressful one, and it is in the state's interest that the decision be made with full knowledge of its nature [and] consequences."


A similar bill has been introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives. It’s already protocol for most abortion providers to perform an ultrasound to determine how far along pregnancies are, but due to the sensitive nature of the appointment, women are not currently required to look at the ultrasound or discuss the fetus.


It's difficult not to think about the motivation behind this legislation. At what point will Black women feel like the rights to their body are being infringed upon? To assume that a woman in this situation does not already understand the gravity of an abortion is an insult.


If lawmakers are so concerned, perhaps a better solution is to offer up nonreligious, nonpartisan sessions in a nurturing environment for women to discuss their fears and concerns rather than forcing women to seek a back-alley remedy for a perfectly legal procedure.

Written by Brandi Tape


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