Michigan has been in the national spotlight in recent weeks thanks to the passage of several comprehensive and highly restrictive abortion laws. The trend continued this week as the Michigan State House of Representatives passed a bill which requires women who have abortions to wear the letter “A” for 8 weeks after the procedure.
The bill notes that the letter can be worn on a chain as a necklace, or as a pin, but it must be at least 6”x8”, and clearly visible from up to twenty feet away. Women will be required to pay for the letter out-of-pocket.
Supporters of the legislation have called it ‘groundbreaking’.
“Nothing like this has ever been done before,” said State House Speaker Jay Bolger. “This law helpfully and humanely ensures that women who undergo abortions cannot easily forget the terrible thing they have done.”
He added, “It also assists citizens in identifying women who have recently had abortions, so they can offer them advice, reproach and prayers, or carefully avoid them, if they prefer.”
Several doctors from Michigan-area clinics that perform abortions organized a protest against the bill, releasing a statement in which they referred to it as ‘unethical and grossly disrespectful of patient confidentiality’. Doctors were also incensed by the legislation’s requirement that the donning of the letter “A” be written into the surgical abortion procedure itself, implying that it is medically necessary.
Supporters of the bill were undaunted by the poor reception it received from protestors, claiming that it represented a bold step for the pro-life movement.
“If we’re going to give a woman the right to choose, why shouldn’t we have the right to find out what she’s chosen, even if we’re across the street and have never actually met her?” asked State Rep. Bob Genetski, adding, “Abortion is everyone’s business.”
Republican Rep. Mike Callton agreed. “This bill brings a welcome level of transparency to a procedure that is not a personal and private matter,” he said. “Sure, to some extent abortion is between a woman and her doctor, but as we’ve all come to realize, it’s also between a woman and her state’s legislators.”