In all of the noise of the passage of healthcare reform, and what this means for women’s reproductive health across the nation as a whole, a great deal of individual state legislation has passed fairly quietly in the background.
In Missouri, the House passed a ban on “coerced” abortions, as well as expanded the amount of “information” a doctor needs to tell a women who is about to undergo an abortion before the procedure occurs. Oddly enough, there was no debate before the vote.
At the same time, a Missouri senate committee voted to ban abortions in all public healthcare plans as a move to bar any potential changes that could come about via national healthcare reform.
Senate Republicans attacked one of the federal health care bill’s most controversial parts Monday, passing a ban on insurance coverage for abortions out of a Senate committee.
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Missouri has banned women from getting health insurance for abortions for more than two decades, with the exception of an abortion to protect the mother’s life.
“The federal bill threatens Missouri’s long-standing laws against funding abortion, and would compel taxpayers to fund abortions for the first time in American history,” said Sen. Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville, the bill’s sponsor.
Of course, women could just buy their abortion insurance separately, but, as the Wall Street Journal points out, that is never going to happen, since no insurers will likely offer it.
In Arizona, Republicans forget that they are supposed to be the party that guards against government intrusion and supports a right to privacy, by passing a more onerous abortion reporting act, and shooting down anything to protect patient confidentiality.
The bill would put into law a current requirement set by Department of Health Services rules for confidential reports submitted by abortion providers. The bill also requires court reports on how many times judges bypass parental consent requirements.
Democratic Sen. Rebecca Rios tried unsuccessfully to amend the bill to toughen confidentiality protections.
The Senate’s bill sponsor, Republican Linda Gray, says there’s no need to do that because the reports are intended only for statistical purposes.
Once again, we can be reminded that all anti-choice advocates want is to have an opportunity to shame women seeking abortions.
Senate Bill 1890 would forbid an abortion based solely on the gender of the child; SB 1891 would protect employees who refuse to participate in abortions; and SB 1902 would make it illegal for a person other than a qualified physician who is physically present to administer the chemical “abortion pill,” RU-486.
All three only need to be voted on the House floor before they go to the governor, who is unlikely to veto.
Idaho is also working on a ban for “abortion based on the sex, color or race of the fetus or the race of a parent,” and is widening its conscience clause to include nurses and pharmacists, rather than just doctors. And Kansas, in yet another attempt to get in front of the Supreme Court, is trying to remove mental health exemptions to its late term abortion ban.
A bill prohibiting late-term abortions in Kansas for mental health or emotional reasons is expected to pass the state House.
House members were to take final action on the measure Tuesday, a day after giving it first-round approval on an 85-30 vote. Approval on a second vote would send the bill to the Senate.
Kansas law allows abortion of a fetus after the 21st week of pregnancy to save a woman’s life or to prevent “substantial and irreversible” harm to “a major bodily function.”
State officials have interpreted “major bodily function” to include mental health, arguing the law wouldn’t be constitutional otherwise. Anti-abortion legislators disagree.
Perhaps the most interesting fight lately has been in Nebraska, where for once pro-choice and anti-choice advocates are arguing on the same side when it comes to a recently vetoed bill for prenatal care for illegal immigrants. Unhappy with the news that women who can’t afford prenatal care are now considering abortion, legislators are inserting the prenatal care amendment onto a popular piece of anti-choice legislation in an effort to get it past the governor.
The Omaha senators said they have the support of about a half-dozen fellow legislators who hope to attach Legislative Bill 1110, the prenatal services restoration bill, to LB 594, the priority bill offered by Sen. Cap Dierks of Ewing. The Dierks bill would require abortion providers to conduct certain patient screenings before performing an abortion or risk a lawsuit.
Dierks was unavailable for comment Monday, but his aide said the senator was receptive to the idea.
The debate over whether to fund prenatal services with public dollars has pitted the state’s major pro-life and medical groups against a pro-life governor and groups that strongly oppose illegal immigration.
Joining other opponents in arguing that taxpayers should not have to fund services for illegal immigrants, Gov. Dave Heineman has declined to resume state funding for the prenatal care, as he could have done administratively. He contends that charities and churches will pick up what the government has cut off.
Nordquist said the abortion alternative should serve as a “wake-up call” to legislators and as motivation to restore a service the state had supported for at least 20 years.
“We don’t want the state to be a partner in the death of a baby,” Ashford said.
“This is not an immigration issue,” he said. “This has always been a 100 percent pro-life issue.”
March 23, 2010
A new push against Hyde amendment faces some high hurdles – Washington Post
Fiorina and the Republican primary – PoliGazette
The Post-Stupak Agenda – AlterNet
Before health vote, a weekend of ugly discourse – The Associated Press
Restrictions on abortion pass Missouri House – KMOX.com
Abortion foe from Texas says he regrets outburst – Washington Post
Abortion issue seen as key to health care reform passage – CNN International
High Court Rejects Challenge to Abortion Clinic ‘Buffer’ Zones – Christian Post
State’s lone Democratic holdout sticks to abortion beliefs – Chicago Tribune
Stupak’s health care vote may cost him among anti-abortion groups – The Detroit News
Health Care Bill – The Stir
Anti-abortion bills win committee’s OK, head to House – Tulsa World
A health vote falls in place after phone call from Obama – Detroit Free Press
Lawmakers In Idaho, Kansas Address Abortion, Provider ‘Conscience’ Bills – Medical News Today
Pro-life Democrats, RIP – Wall Street Journal
The ABCs of family planning – Globe and Mail
High Emergency Contraception use found in Phuket teenagers – Phuketindex.com
Bart Stupak is no healthcare hero – The Guardian
Rwanda: Women Trained On Rights of People Living With HIV/Aids – AllAfrica.com
Youth clubs undertake to fight social problems in unique style – The Citizen Daily
Media contribute subtly to HIV/AIDS stigma – Cape Cod Times
California: New AIDS Advocacy Group Comes to Oakland – TheBody.com
One click aids rape victims – Indiana Daily Student
Abortion activists fired up for 2010 – Politico
March 22, 2010
A bittersweet day for pro-choicers in America – True/Slant
Healthcare Reform Is Only a Partial Victory for Women – U.S. News & World Report
‘Baby Killer’ Yeller Randy Neugebauer Far From Abortion Opponents’ Favorite … – Center for Responsive Politics
Summary of actions by the Supreme Court on Monday – Washington Post
Cao: Abortion ‘at a par with slavery’ – Politico
Stupak Called “Baby Killer” for Backing Bill – CBS News
Uganda: Family Planning- Uganda Runs Out of Contraceptives – AllAfrica.com
CO Personhood Initiative May be on Fall Ballot – Ms. Magazine
Teen pregnancy rising – Telegraph-Journal
Mo. Senate bill would bar abortion coverage – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Strict Abortion Rules Mean Fewer Insurers May Offer Coverage – Wall Street Journal
Health care reform will provide coverage for thousands in Wisconsin – Wisconsin State Journal