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While you were sleeping

Those sneaky Lansing lawmakers just can’t seem to control themselves. Not only did they quietly pass the concealed weapons bill when the public’s attention was focused on the disastrous end to the presidential election, but the Republican-dominated state Legislature used December’s lame-duck session to push through what critics call an appalling number of bills that whittle away at the ability of Michigan women to obtain abortions.

Thanks to conservative legislators — and Gov. John Engler, who is likely to sign all the bills into law — it will be even harder for Michigan women to exercise their right to choice.

According to Judy Karandjeff, public affairs director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, the new bills deny health care coverage for abortions to state, public school and community college employees and their dependents.

The bills also may make abortions less confidential, says Karandjeff. Current laws require those seeking an abortion to read about the procedure on any of a number of Web sites 24 hours in advance. The proposed law, which is to go into effect next summer, mandates viewing this information as presented on a state-run Web site — and a form and confirmation number must be downloaded and given to the patient’s doctor.

“Even though the bill says that no records will be kept on the Web site, there is concern of what trail there might be,” says Karandjeff.

So, what are we to do with these political cowards? Karandjeff says that Planned Parenthood’s lawyers are looking at possible legal challenges to the bills. That’s one tactic. Another is to bombard legislators daily with phone calls, letters, e-mails, etc., demanding that they not only back off on this obnoxious legislation, but repeal the concealed weapons law. You can get legislator contact information at www.michiganlegislature.org.

Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or cguyette@metrotimes.com

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