Roundup: And The Beat Goes On

Robin Marty

So much noise over Stupak may have drowned out the anti-choice legislation that passed in multiple states already this week.

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.

Three of the many anti-choice bills that had been held up in Oklahoma for the last year are in the end run to become law, having passed the Senate and now through House committees.

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 hurdlesWashington Post

Fiorina and the Republican primaryPoliGazette

The Post-Stupak AgendaAlterNet

Before health vote, a weekend of ugly discourseThe Associated Press

Restrictions on abortion pass Missouri

Abortion foe from Texas says he regrets outburstWashington Post

Abortion issue seen as key to health care reform passageCNN International

Committee Passes Abortion Insurance Coverage BanKOMU-TV

High Court Rejects Challenge to Abortion Clinic ‘Buffer’ ZonesChristian Post

State’s lone Democratic holdout sticks to abortion beliefsChicago Tribune

Stupak’s health care vote may cost him among anti-abortion groupsThe Detroit News

Health Care BillThe Stir

Anti-abortion bills win committee’s OK, head to HouseTulsa World

A health vote falls in place after phone call from ObamaDetroit Free Press

Lawmakers In Idaho, Kansas Address Abortion, Provider ‘Conscience’ BillsMedical News Today

Kan. House advances bill to narrow abortion lawKOAM-TV

Pro-life Democrats, RIPWall Street Journal

N.O.W. Health Care Reform Victory Comes with Tragic Setback for Women’s RightsOpEdNews

The ABCs of family planningGlobe and Mail

Senators approve parental consent for minors seeking birth controlYuma Sun

High Emergency Contraception use found in Phuket

Bart Stupak is no healthcare heroThe Guardian

Sexually active homosexuals pay ‘heavy toll’ in HIV infections, CDC analysis saysTips-Q GLBT News

Rwanda: Women Trained On Rights of People Living With HIV/

Youth clubs undertake to fight social problems in unique styleThe Citizen Daily

Media contribute subtly to HIV/AIDS stigmaCape Cod Times

California: New AIDS Advocacy Group Comes to

One click aids rape victimsIndiana Daily Student

Abortion activists fired up for 2010Politico



March 22, 2010

Arizona Senate approves abortion reporting billKGUN

A bittersweet day for pro-choicers in AmericaTrue/Slant

Prochoicers Took a Hit to Help Pass Heathcare Reform — It’s Payback Time NowAlterNet

Healthcare Reform Is Only a Partial Victory for WomenU.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 MondayWashington Post

Cao: Abortion ‘at a par with slavery’Politico

Stupak Called “Baby Killer” for Backing BillCBS News

Uganda: Family Planning- Uganda Runs Out of

CO Personhood Initiative May be on Fall BallotMs. Magazine

Teen pregnancy risingTelegraph-Journal

Pelosi’s Triumph: ‘It’s Personal For Women’NPR

Mum’s cancer death inspires Sophie to back vaccine shotEssex Echo

States Say Overhaul Will Bust Already Strained Medicaid BudgetBusinessWeek

Mo. Senate bill would bar abortion coverageSt. Louis Post-Dispatch

Strict Abortion Rules Mean Fewer Insurers May Offer CoverageWall Street Journal

Health care reform will provide coverage for thousands in WisconsinWisconsin State Journal

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Reproductive rights are a public health issue. That's a fact.

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