Surprise! The Michigan Senate Just Approved Some Extreme Anti-Choice LegislationS

Today, the Republican-led Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee approved an extensive anti-choice measure that would make it next to impossible to obtain medication abortion, enact unnecessary screening requirements, and mandate irrational physical plant requirements that could shut down almost every clinic in the state. If you didn't know this bill was being voted on today, don't blame Twitter and Gchat for being down — the Committee announced their plan to push the legislation less than 24 hours ago.

The hasty decision follows the lead of the Michigan House of Representatives, which rushed the bill (HB 5711) last month, giving pro-choice advocates and abortion providers barely any time to prepare to fight what many called the nation's most restrictive anti-abortion bill. (The gold medal of the anti-choice Olympics, if you will.) Although it's hard to keep track of the overwhelming amount of restrictive anti-abortion measures introduced each month, you'll probably remember this one; it passed after Reps. Lisa Brown and Barb Byrum were barred from speaking after saying highly inappropriate words like "vagina."

"Anti-choice politicians in Michigan are working double time to make it virtually impossible for women to freely exercise their constitutional right to reproductive choice, and to block a fair debate on this cruel and dangerous bill," Nancy Northup, president and CEO for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a Center for Reproductive Rights press release earlier today. "Members of the full State Senate must reject this downright hostility toward their female constituents and end this relentless attack on Michigan women's constitutional rights."

Supporters of the bill aren't even trying to pretend that the purpose of the legislation is to protect women's health; last month, Rep. Mike Shirkey told NBC that "Until we completely eliminate abortions in Michigan and completely defund Planned Parenthood, we have work to do." Thanks to the Senate's actions today, they're getting there.

Debate continues as Michigan Senate committee approves sweeping abortion-related bill [MLive]