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Group Protests Anti-Abortion Bills In Michigan

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LANSING (AP) - About 200 Planned Parenthood supporters gathered Tuesday at Michigan’s Capitol to protest a package of bills aimed at restricting and regulating abortion.

The group ringed the Capitol’s Rotunda, chanting, “This is our house” and “We’ll remember in November.” Later, they filled the gallery during a session of the House, which could consider the legislation this week.

Lori Lamerand, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan, said officials and supporters of the organization weren’t allowed to speak last week at a hearing on the bills.

The Republican-led Health Policy Committee approved and recommended the proposals, which include requiring a doctor or assistant to screen patients to ensure they aren’t being coerced into ending their pregnancies, banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and enacting new regulations related to the disposal of fetal remains.

Supporters call the measures commonsense, overdue reforms, while critics say they are confusing, contradictory and already covered by state laws that aren’t being enforced.

Ari Adler, spokesman for Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger, said committee leaders do their best “to allow all voices to be heard,” and all prepared testimony was entered into the official record.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, said he expects his chamber to take up the measures in September. He said Republican leaders “have every intention of moving the bills” but the extra time will allow for a more detailed look to ensure there are no problems.

The Legislature is expected to begin a summer break later this week.

© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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