LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder on Friday signed into law abortion regulations that supporters say protect women but opponents denounce as a veiled assault on the right to terminate pregnancy.
The Republican governor, who has said he opposes abortion, signed the contentious measure that passed the Michigan Legislature earlier this month.
The law requires facilities where at least 120 abortions are performed annually to obtain a state license as a freestanding outpatient surgical facility. The step would mean further inspections and higher costs for the clinics, in some cases requiring them to renovate their buildings.
Patients must undergo counseling with a health professional to make sure they aren't being forced to get an abortion. But a provision was dropped that would have established penalties for individuals trying to force a woman into getting a so-called "coercive" abortion.
Other provisions deal with disposal of fetal remains and require that a doctor perform a physical exam before prescribing drugs that would induce abortion. The exam could not be performed from a distance through use of a web-based camera, a process known as telemedicine, which critics said would impose a hardship on women in rural areas.
The measures were supported by Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference, which say they improve health and safety standards. They were renounced by Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan, which countered the legislation imposes unreasonable requirements and threatens access to abortions.
Snyder said in a news release that the legislation "respects a woman's right to choose while helping her protect her health and safety."
Incoming House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel said in a statement that GOP leaders and Snyder "are ignoring a majority of Michiganders' belief that abortion should remain safe and legal in our state." He added that "Republicans should focus on the economy and job creation instead of extreme social policies that further divide our state."