Prolife Omnibus Act
(Reforming Michigan Abortion Practices)

P.A. 499 of 2012
H.B. 5711 – Rep. Bruce Rendon

Previously introduced bills incorporated into the omnibus bill:
S.B. 25 & 54 – Sen. Rick Jones
H.B. 4688 – Rep. Anthony Forlini & S.B. 420 – Sen. Tom Casperson
H.B. 5522 – Rep. Tom Hooker
H.B. 5134 – Rep. Nancy Jenkins
H.B. 5182 – Rep. Margaret O’Brien

Current Status
Governor Rick Snyder signed H.B. 5711 into law on December 28, 2012, making it Public Act 499 of 2012.

H.B. 5711 was the primary bill in the package, a consolidation of 7 previously introduced bills being combined into a single omnibus bill – also referred to as the “Prolife Bus.” Here is a brief description of the concepts in the Prolife Bus with the bill numbers of the previously introduced bills accomplishing these objectives individually.

  • Humane disposition of aborted babies: require bodies of aborted children be buried or cremated. (S.B. 25 & 54 or H.B. 4119-4120)
  • Prohibit “webcam” abortions: prohibits prescribing abortion pill by remote consulting over the Internet. (H.B. 4688/S.B. 420)
  • Abortion clinic licensing – require any abortion clinic or private physician office advertising outpatient abortion services to be licensed as a Freestanding Outpatient Surgical Facility (H.B. 5522)
  • Coercive abortion screening – requires abortion clinics to screen women for signs of coercion prior to performing an abortion and provides description of how to conduct the screening (H.B. 5134 & H.B. 5182)

An original 5-bill package regarding coerced abortion included amendments to the Penal Code (HB 4799), Code of Criminal Procedure (HB 4798, penalties & sentencing) and HB 5181 authorizing a specific cause of action (lawsuit) for coercing abortion, however, those bills were stripped from the omnibus and later passed as stand-alone bills to complete our Coercive Abortion Prevention Act. Additional bills to require abortionists to have medical malpractice insurance and to ban abortions on pain-capable unborn children were also originally included in the omnibus bill but ultimately not included in the final version.

After resting on the Senate floor from late-July 2012 until the “lame duck” session in December 2012, the Senate approved an amended version of H.B. 5711 by a vote of 27-10 on December 12, 2012. While there were numerous changes to the details of the “Prolife Bus” bill, the only significant alteration was the removal the medical malpractice insurance requirement for abortionists with bad track records. Leaders in the House and Senate could not agree with the governor on the broader question of requiring malpractice insurance for all physicians with bad records, so that provision was removed from H.B. 5711 for later discussion. The Senate also approved H.B. 4798 & 4799, defining the crime of coercive abortion, which were tie-barred (linked) to the Prolife Bus.

On the final day of the legislative session, December 14, the House removed the tie-bars of H.B. 5181 (malpractice requirement) and H.B. 4798-99 from the Senate version of H.B. 5711. The Senate agreed to remove the tie-bars, and final approval of the bill was given on December 14. Thus, only H.B. 5711 was passed and sent to the governor. The other bills that were not approved “died” at the close of the 2011-12 legislative session.

The Senate Judiciary Committee took up the package of bills on July 26, 2012, and after more than 2 hours of testimony on the bill, voted 3-1 to send the bill to the full Senate.

The House of Representatives voted on June 13, 2012 by a vote of 70-39 in favor of H.B. 5711, the main Prolife Bus bill. The remaining two bills (H.B 5712-5713), banning abortions after 20 weeks based on the unborn child being able to experience pain, were not taken up by the full House.

The House Health Policy Committee reported out H.B. 5711-5713 by votes of 13-5 on June 7, 2012. House Bills 5711-5713 were introduced on May 31, 2012.

Laws to regulate abortion clinics were passed in 1999, however, because the law set the “trigger” to inspect clinics at 50% or more of their services as abortion, none of the clinics ever met the threshold for inspection and were thus never inspected or licensed. The prolife omnibus changed the “trigger” for inspection and licensing to preforming 120 abortions per year and advertising for abortion.

In 2010, the bodies of seventeen aborted babies were found in trash bags in a dumpster used by the Woman’s Choice abortion clinic in Lansing, Michigan. An investigation revealed a deficit in Michigan law leading to a need for a humane disposal of fetal remains bill.

Coercive abortion is a well-known problem among prolifers. Research from the Elliot Institute shows a majority of women feel pressured or coerced into abortion. Minors are particularly susceptible to coercion to abort, as are women in abusive relationships. Sex traffickers and rapists depend on abortion to hide their crimes and turn to force and coercion when their victims become pregnant. As long as abortion is legal and culturally accepted, there will be women coerced into abortion. Screening for signs of coercion to abort won’t stop the practice, but it may help some women and it will provide women with legal tools to hold those who’ve coerced them accountable.