While Busting Unions, Michigan Legislature Also Finds Time to Regulate Uteruses

The Republicans in the Michigan legislature are working hard to pass regressive bills before the lame-duck session ends and Democrats gain five seats in the house in 2013.

The GOP’s “right-to-work” legislation, which makes the payment of union dues voluntary in the private sector, could land on Governor Rick Snyder’s desk early next week.

The state senate bill went further and applies this to public sector workers, too, but exempts police and fire fighter unions.

“Republicans who got defeated up and down the ballot are using this lame-duck legislature to try and jam through legislation that flies in the face of what the voters wanted,” said Bob McCann, the spokesman for the state’s Senate Democratic Caucus. “It's a disgusting process and a disgusting result.”

You know what else is disgusting? Going after reproductive rights.

Michigan’s state senate also passed three bills that would prohibit all insurance coverage for abortion, with the small exception of the threat to the life of the mother.

And remember HB 5711? The bill that got Representatives Lisa Brown and Barb Byrum barred from speaking by the house leadership for saying “vagina?” That bill is back, too, and the senate is expected to pass it next Tuesday.

The bill itself is huge—50 pages—and could essentially shut down abortion clinics in the state with onerous physical plant regulations while also eliminating the use of medication in abortion.

For those of us in Wisconsin, this two-step is a little too familiar. The GOP says jobs are a priority while it goes after workers’ and women’s rights.

As my friend and Wisconsin’s NARAL director Jenni Dye tweeted Thursday night: “First they came for the labor unions, then they came for my uterus. Or vice versa.”

If you liked this story by Elizabeth DiNovella, the Culture Editor of The Progressive magazine, check out her story "Scott Walker Still Has a Koch Habit."

Follow Elizabeth DiNovella @lizdinovella on Twitter

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