Despite the reaction to the bills that have been jammed through the Michigan legislature in the past week, the GOP is still taking advantage of their lame duck majority. The ‘right to work’ law has received a lot of bad press and has Michigan workers protesting in the winter cold. The bills dealing with abortion and insurance were covered here a few days ago and have now been through both legislative chambers and are now law. But that didn’t stop the GOP from pushing through a couple more bad laws.
Not only did the Michigan GOP pass laws restricting insurance coverage for abortions, they have placed onerous restrictions on clinics that perform them, requiring unnecessary regulations on providers. HB 5711 places burdensome regulations on clinics that perform more than 6 procedures a month. This is, of course, an indirect way of closing clinics completely.
Bills also passed limiting abortion access for rural women, who often use a procedure known as telemedical for their care. This new law requires a doctor’s presence for every procedure done in the state. Further, restrictive guidelines for the disposal of fetal remains have been enacted. Doctors will be forced to fill out death certificates and arrange for cremation or burial. This would include miscarriages. Yes, that’s exactly what women who have just lost their baby at 10 weeks need.
As if this weren’t enough, the Michigan GOP is now trying to pass an anti-Sharia law through the legislature:
A House bill to bar use of “foreign laws that would impair constitutional rights” was on Tuesday’s House agenda. Rep. Dave Agema, R-Grandville, sponsored the bill, which doesn’t specifically mention the Islamic legal code called sharia. However, the bill’s supporters have said they are concerned about the use of Sharia spreading.
A similar law was passed in Oklahoma but was overturned in the courts, so the GOP has kept the “S” word out of the bill’s language. But it’s very clear that they are targeting Muslims. The bill’s sponsor is Rep. Dave Agema, a man who has said that American Muslims do not want to live under U.S. Law and has falsely called President Obama a Muslim. His bill would prevent “foreign law” from being applied in Michigan if it would “result in a violation of civil rights.”
Other religious groups in Michigan oppose the law because it would affect any religious group that choose to enter a contract that may be based on their religious beliefs. The Michigan Catholic Conference is among these groups. Michigan has one of the largest Arab and Muslim populations in the U.S. and has consequently been the target of anti-Muslim conspiracies, paranoia and hysteria.
One wonders exactly what the basis of this bill really is. Since we live under a Constitution that already deals with the concept of religion imposing any laws on the population, it’s a useless law. But maybe stirring up even more anti-Muslim feelings is exactly what this lame duck GOP majority wants to do before they leave the legislature. Where do they find the time?