Michigan Human Heartbeat Protection Act (HB 5643)
This law was last updated on Jul 7, 2014
HB 5643 would have amended Michigan’s informed consent law (MCL 333.17015) to include a fetal heartbeat ban.
The bill would have required that an abortion provider determine whether evidence of a fetal heartbeat can be detected using “standard medical practice” prior to performing an abortion, except when a medical emergency exists. If an abortion is performed without determining whether a fetal heartbeat can be detected, the abortion provider would have been required to note in the woman’s medical record the specific nature of the medical emergency that existed. The bill would not have required the use of an intravaginal diagnostic procedure.
If a fetal heartbeat is detected, the abortion provider would have been required to do each of the following: (1) offer the pregnant woman the option of hearing or seeing the evidence of the fetal heartbeat; and (2) inform the pregnant woman of the probability of maintaining the pregnancy versus experiencing a miscarriage. If a fetal heartbeat is not detected, the abortion provider would have been required to advise the pregnant woman of the physician’s recommendation to immediately perform an additional diagnostic procedure that may detect a fetal heartbeat or to delay until a later date performing a diagnostic procedure to determine if the fetus is physically developing.
According to Shelli Weisberg, the legislative director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, the delay is intended to put off the procedure until a heartbeat can be found: “The catch there is to force the woman to continue to delay her decision, and of course if there’s a heartbeat once she comes back to her doctor she won’t be able to get the abortion she wanted.” (Source.)
The bill also would have amended the definition of abortion to exclude “any medical treatment of a woman who is experiencing a miscarriage or has been diagnosed with an extrauterine pregnancy.”
A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks of pregnancy—two weeks after a woman’s first missed period—and well before many women even realize that they are pregnant.
This bill was tie-barred with HB 5644 and HB 5645. (“Tie bar” is a device to condition the effectiveness of legislation on the enactment or passage of other specified legislation. In other words, if one bill fails, they all fail.) They all failed.