Coercive Abortion Prevention Act (CAPA)
H.B. 4798 – Rep. Bruce Rendon
H.B. 5181 – Rep. Margaret O'Brien
H.B. 5182 – Rep. Margaret O'Brien
Rep. Bruce Rendon sponsored the omnibus H.B. 5711 ("Prolife Bus") in May 2012, that incorporated the abortion coercion screening provisions found in H.B. 5134 and 5182. H.B. 5711 passed the House on June, 13. 2102. The Senate then acted on H.B. 5711, 4798, 4799 & 5181 on 12/6/16, with H.B. 4798, 4799, & 5181 passing by votes of 29-9, and H.B. 5711 passing 27-10. This sent the four bills back to the House for a final concurring vote.
After last-minute concerns were raised by Gov. Snyder about details in H.B. 4799, tie-bar amendments linking the coercion bills to the Prolife Bus, were broken by an amendment approved by the House on December 14, 2012. The House then gave final approval to only the Prolife Bus, leaving H.B. 4798, 4799 and 5181 to "die" at the close of the session. Because the coercion screening provisions in the Prolife Bus rely on the definition of coercion contained in H.B. 4799, that legislation must be reintroduced in the 2013-2014 session, and passed quickly so the coercion screening may go forward, when the Prolife Bus law takes effect on 3/12/13.
Earlier Legislative Action
H.B. 4798-99 were introduced on June 22, 2011, H.B. 5134 was introduced on October 27, 2011, and H.B. 5181-82 were introduced on November 29, 2011. THe House Committee on Families, Children and Seniors held a hearing for testimony only on December 6, 2011. RLM testified in favor of the bills, and three women shared powerful personal stories about witnessing coercion to abort or experiencing such coercion themselves. The ACLU testified in opposition.
On February 14, 2012, this five-bill package was voted out of the House Committee on Families, Children and Seniors. The votes on HB 4798, 4799 and 5181 were 6 votes in favor, 2 against, and 1 abstention. The votes on 5182 and 5134 were both 7-2. RLM and the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence spoke in support of the bills. The Michigan Catholic Conference and Michigan Family Forum also supported the bills but did not speak. The ACLU opposed the bills but did not speak.
The Michigan House of Representatives approved the package of bills on March 13, 2012 with strong, bi-partisan votes of 72-37. The legislation had been previously considered on the House floor on March 8, 2012, with a limited amount of debate coming from opposing legislators, with a series of hostile amendments being easily defeated. A record roll call of the votes on final passage can be found starting on page 3 of the House Journal linked here: Michigan House Journal 3/13/12
The Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on Tuesday, April 24, 2012, and reported out the entire CAPA package on Tuesday, May 1, 2012, on votes of 3-0. There has been no specific time frame established for a vote by the full Senate, although action before the Legislature's summer recess, which begins in late June, is a good possibility.
As many as 64% of women who have abortions report feeling pressured. This pressure often rises to the level of coercion, as housing, university athletic scholarships, and other financial support are used as leverage to force women to abort. Further studies reveal that in an alarming number of cases, coercion escalates into physical violence and even murder. In fact, homicide is the leading cause of death among pregnant women. These bills will give women the legal backing they need when being coerced to abort, and help prevent the tragedy of physical assault and murder of pregnant women.