Saturday, May 01, 2010

Media Focus on States' New Abortion Restrictions

[States'] new laws represent some of the most aggressive abortion legislation passed in recent years, leaving some to wonder: are these new laws isolated incidents or signs of a larger shift?

UPDATE 6/2/10: NY Times reports liberals' fear of onslaught of state-level abortion restriction laws

-- From "States test abortion limits" by Sarah Kliff, Politico 4/28/10

“On the one hand, they’re part of an onslaught of restrictions that we see constantly,” says Nancy Northup, President of the Center for Reproductive Rights, of the two new laws. “But, that being said, these are both going farther that what we’ve seen before.” This year alone, the Center has filed lawsuits against six abortion-related laws—two in Oklahoma, two in Alaska, and others in North Dakota and Arizona—a caseload that Northup describes as “higher than we’ve seen since the late 1990s. It’s a total uptick.” They’re currently tracking about 500 state-level bills that would curtail abortion rights.

Fourteen other states do require the provision of an ultrasound prior to abortion, but Oklahoma goes further by requiring both the description of the fetus and that the ultrasound monitor be in sight. Oklahoma’s more restrictive law passed despite objections from Gov. Brad Henry (D), who had previously vetoed the bill.

These anti-abortion victories are a marked shift from just two years ago, when all three of the 2008 abortion-related voter initiatives failed. One in Colorado—arguably the most far-reaching of the three, as it would have declared personhood as beginning at conception—lost by a 46-point margin. Moreover, Nebraska and Oklahoma’s new laws are significantly more restrictive than the abortion restrictions that usually pass through state legislatures, measures that require parental notification for minors or a daylong waiting period prior to abortion.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Oklahoma House Overrides Veto of Law Mandating Ultrasounds Before Abortions" by Associated Press 4/26/10

The Oklahoma House voted overwhelmingly Monday to override vetoes of two restrictive abortion measures Gov. Brad Henry has called unconstitutional intrusions into citizens' private lives and decisions.

The Senate was expected to follow suit Tuesday, after which the bills would become law. [Update: The Senate did so last Tuesday.]

One of the measures requires women to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before getting an abortion. The other prohibits pregnant women from seeking damages if physicians withhold information or provide inaccurate information about their pregnancy.

Supporters said the second measure was aimed at preventing women from discriminating against fetuses with disabilities. The [House] votes were 81-14 and 84-12.

Supporters of the legislation said they do not share the governor's concerns about its constitutionality, which they say should be left to the courts to decide.

This month alone, Henry has signed laws requiring clinics to post signs stating a woman cannot be forced to have an abortion, saying an abortion will not be performed until the woman gives her voluntary consent and making abortions based on child's gender illegal.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Women seeking abortions could face forced ultrasounds" by Dara Kam, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer 4/28/10

Florida's Republican-dominated legislature is poised to pass a bill that would force any pregnant woman considering an abortion to first have an ultrasound - and pay for it - even if she was raped.

The measure, if signed by Gov. Charlie Crist, would result in one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation. It also would require a woman to view the ultrasound unless she signs a form saying she was not coerced into having the abortion.

Opponents say that even then, the bill may require women to hear a medical professional's description of the fetus from that ultrasound before having an abortion unless they can prove they have been raped, are a victim of domestic violence or became pregnant under other extreme circumstances.

The Senate also attached a provision to the same bill (HB 1143) that would ban nearly all private insurance companies from paying for abortions - coverage that currently is included in more than 85 percent of all insurance policies, according to abortion rights advocates.

Senate President-designate Mike Haridopolos sponsored the amendment that would bar any tax dollars from being used to pay for abortions except in cases of rape or incest. Opponents of his proposal argued that it would apply to most private employers who are expected to receive tax credits or other benefits under the federal health care overhaul.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.