House blinks on Abortion Bills as Hundreds of Women Stand Up For Health

“We are not going away,” says Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

Nearly 500 supporters of women’s reproductive health care swarmed the Michigan capitol in Lansing this afternoon wearing t-shirts saying “Women are Watching.” The crowd gathered to protest a sweeping House omnibus bill (HB 5711, 5712 and 5713) that would all but eliminate access to abortion care in Michigan.

“This is a big day for us,” said Lori Lamerand, chair of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan. “Politicians in Lansing thought they would be able to ramrod this bill without a peep from women, but they were wrong. Today the legislature got a civics lesson—women care about their access to basic reproductive health care, and they are watching what happens in Lansing.”

The protest came days after citizens were denied the opportunity to comment on the bill when it was before the House Health Policy Committee. On Thursday, committee chair Gail Haines, (R- Waterford Twp.) shut down the hearing rather than take testimony from groups like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the Michigan Health and Hospital Association and the Michigan State Medical Society.

Women, men and professionals returned to Lansing today to witness the House vote on the 58-page bill, which has been pushed through the legislative process with unprecedented speed and without public comment. But as protestors crammed the gallery and others pounded on the Rotunda banister chanting “This is our House!” and “We will remember in November!” the House tabled the vote.

“We are not going away,” Lamerand concluded.

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