May 01, 2013
Racial Arguments for Florida Abortion Restriction Provoke Walk-Out
The Grio: Black female lawmakers walk out of Florida House over racial arguments made for abortion bill, by Alexis Garrett Stodghill:
A group of black female lawmakers walked out of a fiery debate in the Florida House on Thursday over the state’s latest bill focusing on abortion. House Bill 845, which passed the Florida House of Representatives by a margin of 71-44 that day, stipulates that a doctor performing an abortion must sign an affidavit confirming it was not performed based on the race or gender of the fetus. . . .
April 24, 2013
Kansas Governor Scrawls "JESUS + Mary" On Sweeping Anti-Choice Bill As He Signs It Into Law
Feministing: Kansas Gov signs massive anti-choice law, writes "JESUS + Mary" in notes, by Maya Dusenbery:
Last Friday, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a sweeping anti-choice [bill] into law. Among other things, the bill requires doctors to lie and tell patients that abortion is linked to breast cancer, and defines life as beginning at conception in the state constitution.
Before the signing ceremony, Gov. Brownback added a few hand-written notes to his remarks. According to a photo snapped by the AP, the words “JESUS + Mary” are scrawled front and center across the top. . . .
The text of the law is available here.
April 17, 2013
North Dakota Governor Signs 20-Week Abortion Ban
ACLU press release: North Dakota Governor Signs Another Law Restricting Access to Abortion:
BISMARCK, N.D. – The governor of North Dakota yesterday signed a bill that would ban abortions beginning at 20 weeks of pregnancy. This follows on the heels of the state passing other extreme measures, including a law that already bans most abortions in the state.
“While North Dakota leads the pack of states seeking to outlaw abortion, extreme politicians around the country are trying to catch up,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “Now is the time to tell our elected officials enough is enough. Politicians must stop interfering in personal and private decisions that should be made by a woman and her family.”
The bill is SB2368 and the text is available here. Of course, North Dakota has also passed a much earlier ban that prohibits abortions starting around six weeks of pregnancy. That ban is certain to be struck down. This latest ban, too, is unconstitutional because it prohibits some abortions before fetal viability.
April 15, 2013
Missouri Bill Could Affect Availability of Contraception
Branson Tri-Lakes News: Birth control availability may decrease, by Kris Collins:
Missouri legislators are in the process of passing a bill that could affect the availability of birth control in Missouri.
Senate Bill 126, filed by Sen. David Sater, states, “no pharmacy licensed in this state shall be required to carry or maintain in inventory any specific prescription or nonprescription drug or device.”
“This is a pro-business bill,” Sater said. “I just want to make sure businesses have freedoms. This is a pro-life bill, also.”. . .
April 12, 2013
College Students Can Glean Lessons from State Activity on Abortion
USA Today: Lessons for students from recent abortion cases, by Rebecca Wickel:
5 lessons that college students can takeaway from recent, high profile abortion cases: Know your representatives, read the fine print, go off campus, take a stand and stay informed.
New laws enacted in Arkansas and North Dakota represent some of the country's most extreme legislation against abortion. Now, both states will go head-to-head in court with abortion-rights advocates who insist the bills violate the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
The debate and the controversy surrounding it have many consequences in both Arkansas and North Dakota, yet they can teach college students anywhere how to get involved, take a stance and become educated.
April 04, 2013
Washington State House Passes Bill Requiring Health Insurers to Cover Abortions
Jezebel: Washington State Bill Would Require All Health Insurers to Cover Abortion, by Katie J.M. Baker:
A reproductive rights-related bill that wouldn't shut down every Planned Parenthood clinic in the state, make women wait approximately 10,000 years to get an abortion or otherwise effectively overturn Roe v. Wade miraculously passed the Washington State House and might very well pass the Senate. It's almost as if the state's politicians actually believe ladies should have control over their own uteri! . . .
Indiana House Passes Bill Targeting Providers of Medication Abortion
Reuters: Indiana House passes bill aimed at limiting use of abortion pill, by Susan Guyett:
The Indiana House on Tuesday approved a bill requiring clinics that administer the so-called abortion pill to also have full surgical facilities, a move that would force Planned Parenthood to halt all abortion services at a central Indiana clinic. . . .
Alabama Passes Burdensome TRAP Law
It seems as if the press is starting to understand and describe incremental restrictions as part of a broader movement to dismantle abortion rights:
The Christian Science Monitor - DC Decoder: Alabama joins flood of states restricting abortion. What's behind this?, by Linda Feldmann:
The Alabama and Virginia legislatures just passed new measures, following stricter actions in North Dakota and Arkansas. To understand this latest wave, look to the tea party.
The Alabama bill, passed by the state Legislature late Tuesday, includes a requirement that an abortion provider have admitting rights at a local hospital – a rule that may sound minor, but could prove challenging to achieve in a state with strong opposition to abortion. Supporters say it is aimed at protecting women’s health, while opponents say it is medically unnecessary and aimed at denying women access to abortion. . . .
The New York Times: Alabama Legislature Passes New Limits on Abortion Clinics, by Erik Eckholm:
The Alabama Legislature late Tuesday adopted stringent new regulations for abortion clinics that supporters called a step to protect women but that others called medically unnecessary and a disguised effort to force the closing of the state’s five abortion clinics. . . .
April 03, 2013
North Dakota Legislature Shifts Focus from Banning Abortion to Blocking Sex Ed
Healthwatch: North Dakota lawmakers push new attack on Planned Parenthood, by Sam Baker:
Planned Parenthood is fighting to save a sex-education program in North Dakota that is under attack just as the state has passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country.
The North Dakota Legislature is considering a measure that would likely cut off state funding for a comprehensive sex-ed program supported by Planned Parenthood and North Dakota State University.
"This is incredibly unusual. No state has tried to block a comprehensive sex education program like this, ever," Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, told reporters Monday. . . .
March 26, 2013
North Dakota Governor Signs Strict Abortion Laws, Including Earliest Ban in the U.S.
The New York Times: North Dakota Governor Signs Strict Abortion Law, by John Eligon & Erik Eckholm:
Gov. Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota approved the nation’s toughest abortion restrictions on Tuesday, signing into law a measure that would ban most abortions and inviting a legal showdown over just how much states can limit access to the procedure. . . .
“There are two clashing forces in the anti-abortion movement now,” said Caitlin Borgmann, a law professor and abortion-rights advocate at City University of New York. “The incrementalists are chipping away at Roe and the others are getting impatient.”
With passage of heartbeat laws in Arkansas and North Dakota, “this extreme wing of the movement has definitely gained momentum,” Ms. Borgmann said. “But it can only go so far because they can’t win in the courts.” . . .
March 25, 2013
Embryonic Personhood Measure will Appear on North Dakota Ballot
The New York Times: North Dakota to Put End to Abortions on the Ballot, by John Eligon:
North Dakota lawmakers passed a resolution on Friday to allow the public to decide whether the State Constitution should assert that life begins at conception, a move that would essentially ban all abortions in the state. . . .
Bills on North Dakota Governor's Desk Would Bar Abortions for Grave Fetal Anomalies
TIME - Family Matters: Pro-Choice or No Choice? North Dakota Wants to Ban Abortion for Fetal Abnormalities, by Bonnie Rochman:
Testing for fetal abnormalities can alert expectant parents to potential health problems to come. And it’s the parents who should decide on how to act on those results, right?
Not necessarily. In North Dakota, the governor is considering signing two anti-abortion bills that would be among the most restrictive in the nation. . . .
March 21, 2013
ACLU on North Dakota Abortion Ban Awaiting Governor's Signature
ACLU Blog of Rights: North Dakota Might Ban Abortion. What Do You Need to Know?, by Elissa Berger:
What passed the legislature in North Dakota?
Two bills are on their way to the Governor's desk: HB 1456 would ban most abortions. The ban on abortion starts very early in pregnancy, before a woman may know the health of her pregnancy and before she may even know she is pregnant at all.
HB 1305 would force health care providers to police their patients' reasons for having an abortion and would ban some abortions because of those reasons, including making it illegal for a woman to have an abortion because of a serious medical complication with her baby. Indeed, this bill would even ban abortions in circumstances when the complication is fatal. . . .
March 16, 2013
North Dakota Legislature Approves 6-Week Abortion Ban
Not to be outdone by Arkansas. . . .
The New York Times: Bill in North Dakota Bans Abortion After Heartbeat Is Found, by Erik Eckholm:
Little more than a week after Arkansas adopted the country’s most stringent abortion limits, banning the procedure at 12 weeks ofpregnancy, the North Dakota Legislature on Friday passed a more restrictive bill that would ban most abortions as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy.
The Legislature, which is dominated by Republicans, also passed a second measure that would ban abortions sought because of a genetic abnormality or to select the sex of the child. . . .
For my take on how bans like this reflect a divide within the movement, see: Roe v. Wade's 40th Anniversary: A Moment of Truth for the Anti-Abortion-Rights Movement?
March 08, 2013
South Dakota Governor Signs Extended Abortion Waiting Period into Law
Reuters: South Dakota governor signs extended abortion wait period law, by David Bailey:
South Dakota Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard on Friday signed into law a measure that excludes weekends and holidays from the state's 72-hour waiting period for abortions, potentially making the wait the longest in the nation. . . .
March 07, 2013
Arkansas 12-Week Ban Reflects Schism Within Anti-Choice Movement
The New York Times: Arkansas Adopts a Ban on Abortions After 12 Weeks, by Erik Eckholm:
Adoption of the law, called the Human Heartbeat Protection Act, is the first statewide victory for a restless emerging faction within the anti-abortion movement that has lost patience with the incremental whittling away at abortion rights — a strategy used by groups like National Right to Life and the Catholic Church while they wait for a more sympathetic Supreme Court.
“When is enough enough?” asked the bill’s sponsor in the legislature, Senator Jason Rapert . . . .
For more on this divide in the movement, see my article, Roe v. Wade's 40th Anniversary: A Moment of Truth for the Anti-Abortion-Rights Movement?
March 05, 2013
Overriding Governor's Veto, Arkansas Legislators Ban Abortion at 12 Weeks
NPR - The Two-Way blog: Arkansas Legislature Embraces Strictest U.S. Abortion Law, by Bill Chappell:
Arkansas has approved a law banning most abortions after 12 weeks of gestation, as both houses of the state's legislature vote to override a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe. The Republican-backed Human Heartbeat Protection Act will become the nation's most restrictive law. . . .
March 04, 2013
GOP Utah Lawmaker Compares Abortion to Cockfighting
The Salt Lake Tribune: Senator raises abortion issue in cock fighting debate, by David Montero:
A bill seeking to turn cock fighting into a felony took a detour during floor comments in the Utah Senate Monday when a Republican expressed dismay that the Legislature was looking to elevate the penalty for rooster fighting while abortion remained legal. . . .
"In a state where we can still allow people to kill their babies, we want to make it a felony to let chickens fight — the purpose for which they were raised," Christensen said. . . .
Arkansas Governor Vetoes 12-Week Abortion Ban
The Huffington Post: Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe Vetoes 12-Week Abortion Ban, by Laura Bassett:
Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe (D) vetoed a controversial bill on Monday that would ban abortions after just 12 weeks of pregnancy. If enacted, the bill would be the most extreme abortion restriction in the country.
Arkansas' newly GOP-led Senate gave final approval to the 12-week ban last week by a vote of 26-8. The bill includes exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother and highly lethal fetal disorders. . . .
The Governor's veto of a 20-week abortion ban was overridden by the Arkansas legislature.
February 28, 2013
Arkansas 20-Week Abortion Ban Becomes Law Following Legislature's Veto Override
The Washington Post - Post Politics blog: Arkansas legislature overturns veto of late-term abortion ban, by Aaron Blake:
The Republican-controlled Arkansas state legislature has overturned Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto of a bill that would prohibit abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, according to AP.
The chamber also passed a more restrictive abortion bill that would ban most abortions after the 12th week, which Beebe will have to decide whether to veto.
Beebe vetoed the 20-week bill on Tuesday, saying that he thought it violated the law under Roe v. Wade. The landmark Supreme Court case set the cutoff at 24 weeks, while Casey v. Planned Parenthood in 1992 changed it to 22 weeks. . . .