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.
- Coercive Abortion Prevention – screening women seeking abortions for possible coercion to abort, require an anti-coercion sign posted in abortion clinics. (H.B. 5134 & 5182) The two additional new bills attached to the Bus, H.B. 5712-13, (H.B. 4798-99) complete the Coercive Abortion Prevention package by defining coercion to abort as a crime and providing penalties.
- Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act – (Also included in H.B. 5713) to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks based on the ability of the unborn child to experience pain by that stage of development. (H.B. 5543)
- 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).
- Abortionist malpractice insurance – require abortionists to carry $1 million in malpractice insurance or carry an equivalent bonded surety. (S.B. 876)
The bills regarding coerced abortion were part of an original 5-bill package that include 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.
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.