Monday, September 11, 2006

Senate panels to consider bills on abortion, elections board

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- A state Senate panel this week is expected to consider legislation that would require abortion clinics to screen women to determine if they have been coerced or intimidated into ending their pregnancies. The Senate Health Policy Committee scheduled a Wednesday meeting on the legislation, which Republicans say it is an attempt to crack down on domestic violence. Some Democrats say the bills are an effort to discourage women from seeking abortions. The legislation would make it illegal to coerce or intimidate a woman into seeking an abortion and give them some recourse through civil lawsuits. Screening on whether a woman has been coerced into having an abortion would have to take place at least 24 hours before the procedure. Backers say the legislation would empower pregnant women to make their own decisions, but opponents say the bills could have the unintended consequence of putting women more at risk to violence by boyfriends or husbands.

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