Driskell, Irwin, Zemke, Warren Back Legislation for Improved Access to Women's Health Care

Package would expand education, health care options for women
Monday, May 13, 2013

ANN ARBOR — State Representatives Gretchen Driskell (D-Saline), Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), Adam F. Zemke (D-Ann Arbor) and state Senator Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) announced their support for a package of four bills and three resolutions that would improve access to women’s health care, educate women about health care options, support rape survivors and address health care inequities women face.

“As an elected official and a woman, I am concerned about the state of health care for women of all ages,” Driskell said. “All Michigan residents deserve access to the care they need, and that’s what we’re addressing.”

Irwin added, “Medically accurate and age-appropriate sex education is an important part of helping young people make healthy choices. I’m hopeful that my colleagues will move forward with this legislation that will reduce sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies.”

The package of legislation includes:

  • House Resolution 140 naming May 12-18 “National Women’s Health Week” in Michigan (introduced by Driskell)
  • HR 138 urging the DCH to promote programs that identify and address inequities in the prevention, treatment and research of diseases threatening women (Rep. Winnie Brinks)
  • HR 139 recommending that the state intensify efforts to reduce the rate of teen pregnancies (Rep. Collene Lamonte)
  • House Bill 4067, requiring all health facilities and agencies to offer emergency contraception to rape survivors (Rep. Charles Smiley)
  • HB 4722 which directs the Department of Community Health (DCH) to develop and disseminate information about emergency contraception, including a description, explanation of use, safety efficacy and availability of emergency contraception (Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright)
  • HB 4721 requiring age-appropriate, medically accurate and objective sexuality education to be taught in public schools (Irwin)
  • HB 4260, which requires doctors to give information about breast density and inform women with dense breast tissue that they may want additional testing (Brinks)

“Improving women’s health care sends a message that Michigan is a welcoming state, not an exclusionary one,” Zemke said. “These are issues that affect all people, and I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues to pass this legislation.”

“By and large, women are still the primary caregivers of our children and our aging population, the chief consumers in our economy and the gatekeepers of our families’ health, so when we limit their ability to make responsible, informed choices about their own well-being, we hurt those that depend on them as well,” Warren said. “I challenge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to act surely and swiftly to put women and their families before the political maneuvering that has become all too commonplace in Lansing for the last three years, and enact these common-sense measures.”