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Ouimet, Driskell Differ on Abortion Legislation

Rep. Mark Ouimet said legislation passed Wednesday is designed to protect a woman's health, while Saline Mayor Gretchen Driskell said the legislation takes health care decisions away from women and doctors.

The Michigan House, divided mostly along party lines, passed new regulations for abortion providers June 13.

The legislation requires more malpractice insurance for any providers who've lost two lawsuits, regulates the disposal of fetal remains, requires that abortion clinics be licensed as surgical centers and prohibits doctors from prescribing the RU-486 abortion pill over the Internet.

Rep. Mark Ouimet, R-Scio Township, voted for the legislation, saying it was a vote for women's health.

"Far from being 'right-wing,' this legislation was approved by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including six Democrats. No matter where you stand on the abortion issue, you'd hope everyone could agree that women who do decide to have an abortion should be able to do so in a safe environment," Ouimet said. "I voted 'yes' on this legislation because it protects women by requiring that abortion facilities meet state and federal standard regulations. We should all strive to provide a safe environment for any medical facility, and it makes sense that all abortion clinics get licensed and inspected as outpatient surgical facilities."

Ouimet's Democratic opponent for the 52nd District, Gretchen Driskell, issued a statement Thursday criticizing the legislation, saying House Bill 5711 is intended to shut down clinics by requiring "onerous" licensing and regulations and "expensive" new fees.

“As the mother of three wonderful children, I have deep concerns about the Republicans’ plan to take important health care decisions away from Michigan women and their doctors and dictate to physicians how to practice medicine,” Driskell said. “In 2010, Mark Ouimet told a reporter he wasn’t interested in changing Roe v. Wade and was more focused on creating jobs. Now Rep. Ouimet and his right-wing partners in Lansing are distracting voters from their record of raising taxes on seniors, squeezing middle-class families and eliminating $1 billion from our kids’ schools.

"He needs to explain this vote and why he thinks the Michigan House should be spending its time on divisive issues instead of working to create jobs or making it easier for middle-class families to get by — like he campaigned to do in 2010."

Driskell said the legislation will also require screenings to determine if a woman seeking an abortion is being coerced, which she said will invade the doctor/patient relationship. She said a measure forcing doctors to carry another $1 million in medical liability insurance is designed to create hurdles for clinics.

“It’s clear that Rep. Ouimet and Lansing Republicans are now following the agenda of extremist special interest groups at the expense of a woman’s health,” Driskell said.

The bill passed 70-39, with six pro-life Democrats joining the 64 Republicans in the House. The legislation now moves to the Senate.

House Republicans did not vote on two other abortion bills, including one bill that would have banned most abortions after 20 weeks.

Let's Be Frank June 15, 2012 at 04:01 AM
I find it laughable that Gretchen Driskell is making everything about social issues and Roe v Wade when that vote DID NOT CHANGE or DO AWAY with Roe v Wade. They made it safer for those who may or may not choose to have an abortion. And for her to say that he is not focusing on jobs is ridiculous! I’d like to know how Gretchen plans to create jobs, balance a budget and “protect tax payers”? Lots of bashing but no real substance or ideas on how to fix the mess House Democrats and Governor Granholm left when they lost power. Driskell is going to make everything about social issues when guess what…. It’s about “jobs”. That’s the pot calling the kettle black. I may not always agree with Ouimet but I don’t want to be represented by someone who is an extreme leftist liberal. Gretchen needs to look at the district. You aren’t in Ann Arbor Proper any more.
Randy June 15, 2012 at 07:07 AM
Mark Ouimet is an abortion enabler? Is that what you're trying to say? Come on. Everyone with a brain sees right through this. It's a nod to the Christian base. Or a half of a nod. Sounds like Republicans had the good sense not to go all the way.
John Locke June 15, 2012 at 02:37 PM
I find this sort of social legislatiion offensive in threeregards: 1) It's an attack on a woman's right to control her own body. 2) It's an attempt to force one groups religious views on another 3) it's government over reach. And, it this is so good where is the companion legislation, requiring the father of the baby to have a vasectomy? It takes to two not one for preganancy to occur
Mary-Ellen Miller June 15, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Thank you for some sane talk!!
D Friese June 15, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Governor Granholm inherited a mess from Engler and a Republican controlled legislature. They not only depleted the State's cash reserves but raided the public employees's retirement system to pass a balanced budget. The retirement system has never been repaid. Governor Granholm further had to deal with a state senate controlled by the opposition. As for Mr. Ouimet, during his tenure in office, he has repeatedly supported radical positions pushed by the radical right. He has not represented the best interests of seniors, students, the workers, and voters of this state.
Mary-Ellen Miller June 15, 2012 at 05:33 PM
I had expected so much better of him. He had seemed so much better as a Commissioner.
Kevin McNulty June 15, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Ms. Driscoll is way off base here. Rep. Ouimet listed some very good reasons to vote in favor of this legislation, none of which imply any sort of invasion of women's rights.
Mary-Ellen Miller June 15, 2012 at 07:10 PM
We need a group of men to take care of women? Women can't stand up for themselves?
BettyS June 19, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Is this the same D. Friese who finished last when running for Saline school board and was solely a voice for the MEA and not the students? I am then not surprised that he would support Driskell who will attempt to make this election based only on social issues where it is only the economy and jobs that are the concern. It is unfortunate that those that who support Driskell long for the failed policies of the Granholm Administration and continue to blame others and not themselves for the carnage.

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