The Governor signed the bill into law on 12/31/02 and it took effect 03/31/03.
This legislation was introduced to clarify the meaning of “abortion-related services” in the Informed Consent law so that abortionists cannot collect payment for abortion services until after the 24-hour period has expired.
In 2000, Michigan passed legislation to tighten the informed consent law for abortion. The section prohibiting abortionists from collecting money for “abortion related” activities until after the expiration of the 24 hour waiting period was challenged in court. In February 2002, Judge John O’Meara struck down the prepayment prohibition because the term “abortion related medical service” is “unconstitutionally vague,” and the Act does not provide a definition of “abortion related.” The Act required a high standard of legal review because it (unintentionally) imposed criminal sanctions.
This legislation was drafted in response to that court decision. It clarifies what services are “abortion related” so that abortionists will know what they cannot collect payment for during the waiting period. It also provides consumer protection to women who are considering abortion. Women should not be forced to invest financially in the abortion prior to the passing of the 24 hour waiting period. The law will protect women from the added pressure of financial obligation when making a decision about abortion. To increase the law’s future chances of approval in court, the bill would decriminalize offenses against the informed consent law.
Both versions of the bill were introduced on 4/30/02 and referred to the respective Health Policy Committee. The House committee held a hearing on 5/14/02 and voted H.B. 5971 to the House floor where it was passed by the full House with 72 votes on 5/29/02. The bill was then sent to the Senate and referred to the Committee on Health Policy. Both versions of the bill were discharged from the Health Policy Committee and re-referred to the Committee on Families, Mental Health, and Human Services. The Committee reported H.B.5971 favorably on 12/10/02. On 12/12/02, the full Senate voted on the bill. An unfriendly amendment was offered and defeated and the bill was passed 24-10. The Governor signed the bill into law on 12/31/02.