LANSING, Mich. (AP) – The Republican-led Michigan Senate has voted to make it a crime to coerce a woman to have an abortion against her will.
The legislation would prohibit stalking or assaulting a pregnant woman or anyone else with the intent to force an abortion against her wishes. After learning that a woman does not want an abortion, a person also could not threaten to cut off legally required financial support or withdraw from a contract with her.
The bills approved 26-11 Thursday next go to the GOP-controlled House for consideration in the waning days of the legislative session.
A 2012 state law requires abortion clinics to screen patients for coercion, but lawmakers’ attempt at the time to criminalize coercive abortions was removed from the legislation before Gov. Rick Snyder signed it.
Anti-abortion advocates say coerced abortions are a real problem and many women feel pressured into having an abortion
Pro-abortion rights supporters say they’re concerned over what would constitute coercion and under what circumstances, saying the bills could lead to unintended consequences. They also say existing stalking and assault crime laws protect women against being coerced.