Pro-life lawmakers in the Michigan House passed a bill on Thursday that would protect women from being pressured into having abortions.
The Detroit News reports the bill would strengthen the penalties for anyone who coerces a woman into having an abortion against her will.
State Rep. Amanda Price, R-Park Township, who sponsored the bill, said the measure will empower women.
“Employers threaten to demote or fire pregnant employees, college coaches threaten to take away scholarships, and parents too can be coercive,” Price said.
Studies show that coerced abortions are frequent, but they are often ignored by the abortion industry and its advocates.
Despite claiming to support a woman’s “right to choose,” most Michigan Democrats voted against the bill on Thursday. The local news report states the House Democrats claimed the bill was an unnecessary effort to appease pro-lifers.
The report continues:
The two-bill package would create new abortion coercion penalties matching underlying offenses of stalking, assaultive crimes or related threats. The legislation would create new misdemeanor fines for withdrawing support, firing a woman or engaging in coercion related to human trafficking.
“It’s high time that we empower women with the tools to fight back against this coercion,” Price said.
The bills passed the House in a series of mostly party-line 65-43 votes.
“These bills aren’t about protecting women,” said Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright, D-Muskegon. “If they were, you would have jumped at the chance to protect women who face coercion and abuse to remain pregnant. You have done nothing for them.”
Michigan’s 1993 informed consent abortion law already prohibits coercion to abort, treating it as a form of felony extortion. The state’s civil rights law prohibits discrimination based on familial status, including a pregnancy.
Democrats proposed expanding the bills to prohibit all forms of “reproductive coercion,” such as sabotaging birth control pills or poking holes in condoms to impregnate a woman against her will.
The amendments were rejected by the GOP majority, with members suggesting the actions would be better addressed in separate legislation.
The bill moves to the Michigan Senate for consideration.
Michigan Right to Life, which supports the bill, reported that one study found 64 percent of women who had abortions said they were coerced by a partner or parent.
According to the pro-life group: “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 pregnancy related 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,” the group continued.
In the past several months, LifeNews has reported several cases of women whose partners physically abused them because they refused to have an abortion. In several cases, the coercion and violence resulted in their unborn baby’s death.