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Author Topic: Michigan's Coercive Abortion Prevention Act
Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Some info here:
quote:
Bob and Jane live together and, like many young couples, they sometimes argue. There never seems to be enough money, and while they both want to go to college, neither has yet been able to do so. Jane recently discovered that she is pregnant.

Jane is ambivalent about the pregnancy, and her friends think she should terminate it -- she's too young, and Bob isn't very stable. Bob would like to be a father someday, but not now -- he can't pay their bills and wants a better career.

One day Bob and Jane argue over some things Jane bought with their credit card, and Bob tells Jane he doesn't want to pay their bills anymore. He says he's tired of arguing with her, doesn't want her to have the baby, and wants to move out for a while and think things over.

Under a bill recently passed by the Michigan House of Representatives, Bob could go to jail...

HB 5882 actually makes it a crime for a man to "change or attempt to change an existing housing or cohabitation arrangement" with a pregnant significant other, to "file or attempt to file for a divorce" from his pregnant wife, or to "withdraw or attempt to withdraw financial support" from a woman who he has been supporting, if it is determined that the man is doing these things to try to pressure the woman to terminate her pregnancy.

I can only find one other article about this. Why isn't it bigger news?

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LeaflessMapleTree
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Damn it, MapleLeaf. Learn to read.

Uhmm...I don't know why it's not bigger news. Maybe because it's not a horrible evil law.

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Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I don't think it's a horrible law, if I could have found a more neutral link I would have. But I do think it's an ineffective law at best. At worst, it could lead to more pregnant women becoming the victim of violence because their SO feels even more stuck.

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Jay Temple
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Good call, Starla.

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Arriah
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I think it should be illegal to try to cooerce anyone to have an abortion in any way, that's a huge decision to make and it already has a time constraint, noone needs added pressure. I can't see it being very easy to prove that a man left a woman intentionally to force an abortion.

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Rebecca

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Silas Sparkhammer
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quote:
Originally posted by Arriah:
I think it should be illegal to try to cooerce anyone to have an abortion in any way. . .

In *any* way? You'd be biting pretty deeply into freedom of speech, wouldn't you?

What if Grandmother says, "If you don't have an abortion, I'll disinherit you."

What if Husband/BF/whatever says, "One of us will have to quit our job and stay at home with the kid, and that means we'll have to move to a smaller house."

How far do you want to go down that road?

Silas

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Troodon
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Basing my opinion solely on the link in the OP, I don't think this is a good or just law. Obviously women, pregnant or otherwise, should be protected from coercion through threats of criminal violence, but at the same time I'm strongly against legislation that requires anyone to remain married to anyone else or forces one adult to unwillingly financially support another adult.

IMO, it's not wrong for a man to set abortion in case of pregnancy as a condition of his relationship with and financial support of a woman. I imagine that if I were in a situation where my hypothetical parter and I had decided that she would have an abortion if she were to become pregnant and then she became pregnant and decided not to have an abortion, I would feel very betrayed and I would not support her, especially not in order to help her continue the pregnancy.

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LeaflessMapleTree
The twelve shopping days 'til Christmas


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quote:
I think it should be illegal to try to cooerce anyone to have an abortion in any way
No moreso than it should be to try to coerce anyone to have any invasive medical procedure done. What about chemotherapy? It's a huge decision with a time constraint and negative side-effects.

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"For me, religion is like a rhinoceros: I don't have one, and I'd really prefer not to be trampled by yours. But it is impressive, and even beautiful, and, to be honest, the world would be slightly worse off if there weren't any."
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Mickey Blue
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I'd be against any law that for any reason attempted to make it illegal to leave a relationship for any partner. I don't care what the motivation is, it could prevent an abusive partner from leaving the relationship.

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magpie
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What if the baby wasn't Bob's? How would they prove such a thing during the pregnancy?
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Troberg
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So, basically, you could be forced by law to stay in a crashed relationship? That sure is going to help everybody...

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
I don't care what the motivation is, it could prevent an abusive partner from leaving the relationship.
Or even worse, it could prevent the abused partner from leaving.

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by MapleLeaf:
quote:
I think it should be illegal to try to cooerce anyone to have an abortion in any way
No moreso than it should be to try to coerce anyone to have any invasive medical procedure done. What about chemotherapy? It's a huge decision with a time constraint and negative side-effects.
Do you think many parents move out and withdraw financial support to force their children to undergo chemotherapy (or not)?

I have a hard time with trying to compare abortion to any other medical procedure. It's simply not the same thing.

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Four Kitties
Layaway in a Manger


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What Starla said. Forcing exH to stay because I was pregnant might have resulted in his succeeding in his attempts to hurt me and kill the baby. Getting him the NFBSK out and changing the locks meant he couldn't.

Bad Idea.

Four Kitties

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Four Kitties:
What Starla said. Forcing exH to stay because I was pregnant might have resulted in his succeeding in his attempts to hurt me and kill the baby. Getting him the NFBSK out and changing the locks meant he couldn't.

Bad Idea.

Four Kitties

I may have miunderstood the law, but I gathered this was a way to prevent a man from removing financial support in order to pressure his wife/SO to have an abortion. Surely if she wants him out of the house for whatever reason, but especially if her safety is at stake, this can still happen?

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If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

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Four Kitties
Layaway in a Manger


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Do you trust the government to make that determination correctly, every single time?

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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HB 5882:

quote:
House Bill 5882 would amend the Michigan Penal Code to create the Coercive Abortion Prevention Act, under which a person could not do either of the following with the intent to compel a pregnant female to seek an abortion: 1) commit, attempt to commit, or conspire to commit physical harm to the pregnant female; or 2) engage in a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of the pregnant female that would cause her to reasonably feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, or harassed. House Bill 5883 would make complementary amendments to the sentencing guidelines provisions in the Code of Criminal Procedure.
This is entirely different than the reading in the OP.

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BringTheNoise
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And sounds like a good idea.

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Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Beachlife- Where did you find that quote?

I heard about the act on the radio and have been trying to find neutral information about it but I'm not having much luck.

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Open Mike Night
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The bill can be found here:

House Bill 5882

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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The bill that Mike linked to looks more like the OP than the summary I found.

In response to 4Ks point though, it's a matter of pressing charges. The police don't go around investigating the living situation of every pregnant women. Rahter, a woman would have to file a complaint under the law and have it investigated. I doubt that a women who was being abused and thankful that her So was moving out would do this.

I don't really like the law as written, but I don't like the idea of a man forcing an abortion upon a woman either.

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Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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From Mike's link- a man may not:
quote:
(b) File or attempt to file for a divorce from the pregnant female.

(c) Withdraw or attempt to withdraw financial support from the pregnant female that had previously been supplied or offered to the pregnant female.

(d) Change or attempt to change an existing housing or cohabitation arrangement with the pregnant female.

(e) Threaten to engage in conduct proscribed under subdivision


I know it's still a matter of the pregnant woman pressing charges, but it still seems like an unnecessary law at best. There are already laws that cover most of the behavior described in the bill.

If Michigan is really concerned about ensuring women aren't coerced into abortion, they should set up means for women to take care of themselves. Affordable child care, prenatal care, maybe even emergency housing.

If withdrawal of support changes a woman's circumstances so much that she feels compelled to have an abortion, pressing charges against the man isn't going to help her. The process takes too long and in the meantime she is still in need. Even if she can prove the charges, sending the guy to jail or fining him does not help her.

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pinqy
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quote:
Jane is ambivalent about the pregnancy, and her friends think she should terminate it -- she's too young, and Bob isn't very stable. Bob would like to be a father someday, but not now -- he can't pay their bills and wants a better career.

One day Bob and Jane argue over some things Jane bought with their credit card, and Bob tells Jane he doesn't want to pay their bills anymore. He says he's tired of arguing with her, doesn't want her to have the baby, and wants to move out for a while and think things over.

Under a bill recently passed by the Michigan House of Representatives, Bob could go to jail...

That's not quite accurate. The Bill actually states
quote:
A person who has actual knowledge that a female individual is pregnant shall not do any of the following with the intent to compel a pregnant female to seek an abortion:

(a) Commit or attempt to commit an act proscribed under section 81, 81a, 83, 84, 86, or 411h against the pregnant female or a family or household member.

(b) File or attempt to file for a divorce from the pregnant female.

(c) Withdraw or attempt to withdraw financial support from the pregnant female that had previously been supplied or offered to the pregnant female.

(d) Change or attempt to change an existing housing or cohabitation arrangement with the pregnant female.

(e) Threaten to engage in conduct proscribed under subdivision (b), (c), or (d).

So leaving, filing for divorce, etc are only forbidden if the specific intent is to compel an abortion. The scenario in the OP doesn't quite fit. Bob would have to leave or threaten to leave if Jane doesn't have an abortion. It doesn't cover simple abandonment or breaking up...only if the intent is to coerce an abortion.

For clarification:
quote:
Commit or attempt to commit an act proscribed under section 81, 81a, 83, 84, 86, or 411h against the pregnant female or a family or household member.
Refers to laws against assault and stalking.

pinqy

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Buckleupp
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Just like "necessary for the life or health of the mother," I fear that "coercing or intimidating" is one of those phrases that could be stretched to mean anything.

There's a big difference between force and coercion. This type of bill makes women seem like weak, easily influenced, powerless willows in the wind who can't make a decision without a man to do it for them, and who are so helpless that almost any action or statement by another person could cause them to instantly change their mind about a momentous life-changing decision. I'm glad NOW is opposing it. This is no protection for women, but a thinly veiled attempt to revert back to the good ol days when women had no say about anything.

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Open Mike Night
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quote:
Originally posted by Starla:
From Mike's link- a man may not:

not to nitpick, but from reading the law it looks like it just isn't that a man may not do those things, but no one can do those things, not your husband, boyfriend, mother, father, landlord, teacher, grocer etc...

It just carries a stiffer penalty if the person doing the coercing is the father (or putative father) of the fetus.

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Buckleupp:
Just like "necessary for the life or health of the mother," I fear that "coercing or intimidating" is one of those phrases that could be stretched to mean anything.

There's a big difference between force and coercion. This type of bill makes woman seem like weak, easily influenced, powerless willows in the wind who can't make a decision without a man to do it for them, and who are so helpless that almost any action or statement by another person could cause them to instantly change their mind about a momentous life-changing decision. I'm glad NOW is opposing it. This is no protection for women, but a thinly veiled attempt to revert back to the good ol days when women had no say about anything.

What are you talking about?

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GenYus
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See. This is just another example about how abuse against women gets all the press and abuse against men gets nothing.

Note that the bill provides no protection for coercion or force used against pregnant males. In fact, it specifically excludes them by using "preganant female" throughout the bill.

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Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Open Mike Night:
quote:
Originally posted by Starla:
From Mike's link- a man may not:

not to nitpick, but from reading the law it looks like it just isn't that a man may not do those things, but no one can do those things, not your husband, boyfriend, mother, father, landlord, teacher, grocer etc...

It just carries a stiffer penalty if the person doing the coercing is the father (or putative father) of the fetus.

That is an important distinction.

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MyBandwagon

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me, no really
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
quote:
Jane is ambivalent about the pregnancy, and her friends think she should terminate it -- she's too young, and Bob isn't very stable. Bob would like to be a father someday, but not now -- he can't pay their bills and wants a better career.

One day Bob and Jane argue over some things Jane bought with their credit card, and Bob tells Jane he doesn't want to pay their bills anymore. He says he's tired of arguing with her, doesn't want her to have the baby, and wants to move out for a while and think things over.

Under a bill recently passed by the Michigan House of Representatives, Bob could go to jail...

So leaving, filing for divorce, etc are only forbidden if the specific intent is to compel an abortion. The scenario in the OP doesn't quite fit. Bob would have to leave or threaten to leave if Jane doesn't have an abortion. It doesn't cover simple abandonment or breaking up...only if the intent is to coerce an abortion.

pinqy

I think they are relying on the statement: "doesn't want her to have the baby" to imply that he is coercing her to have an abortion. He is saying "I don't want to keep supporting you, I am moving out, and I don't want you to have the baby." That would fit the definition in the legislation except maybe for the point that it sounds like (to me) that he intends to stop supporting her and move out regardless of whether she does in fact have the baby or not. I suspect that if she pressed charges he would indeed be charged, and it would come down to how the court interpreted his words and actions.

me

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