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Wednesday, 22 January 2014 16:50

Lawmakers mull change to abortion rules

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri women would have to wait 72 hours after seeing a doctor before an abortion could be performed under legislation being considered by the House Health Care Policy Committee.
   The panel heard testimony from supporters Wednesday on how the bill would give women more time to think before terminating a pregnancy. Opponents argued the measure would just be a logistical delay designed to push women further into pregnancy before having an abortion, which can increase risk.
   Under current law, a woman must wait 24 hours after seeing a doctor before an abortion can take place. Only South Dakota and Utah require 72-hour waiting periods.
   The committee took no action on the legislation Wednesday.
Published in Local News
Monday, 04 November 2013 02:34

Texas abortion case could impact Missouri

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The outcome of a Texas abortion dispute could have an impact on Missouri.

   A federal appeals court is considering a challenge to a new Texas law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic.

   Missouri has a similar law that has been in place since 2005.

   A federal judge originally issued a temporary restraining order against the Missouri law after it was challenged by a Springfield abortion clinic. But that clinic later dropped its lawsuit and closed, and the law has remained in effect since then.

   The Missouri law is cited by both abortion providers and opponents as one of the reasons why the state has few abortion clinics.

 
Published in Local News

   AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst lost control of the Texas Senate to what he called an "unruly mob" during an abortion debate two weeks ago. He says it won't happen again.

   The conservative Republican has scheduled a vote on Friday afternoon to impose new restrictions on when, where and how women may obtain an abortion in Texas.

   Angry protesters prevented the bill from passing in the final 15 minutes of the first special legislative session by shouting and screaming. When protesters return Friday afternoon, Dewhurst has dozens of additional state police on standby. He says he will clear the Senate if spectators start protesting.

   Democrats say they can do little to stop Friday's vote and the bill will go to Gov. Rick Perry. Abortion-rights groups expect to challenge it in court.

 
Published in National News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The ACLU of Illinois says the state's abortion notification law will go into effect in 35 days.

The Illinois Supreme Court issued a ruling Thursday that ended a lengthy and emotionally charged legal battle of a 1995 law that's never been enforced. It requires doctors to notify a girl's parents of her abortion 48 hours before the procedure. It applies to girls 17 and younger.

The ACLU represented the southeastern Illinois clinic and the director of the University of Illinois at Chicago's Center for Reproductive Health in the case.

The group says the measure "jeopardizes the health and safety of young women."

The ACLU says it will spend the next weeks working with health care providers and lawyers to counsel girls.

 
Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has passed a bill that would require a doctor to be physically present when an abortion-inducing drug is first administered.

The legislation was passed with a 23-7 vote on Monday. It now heads back to the House.

Senate Democrats opposed the measure but allowed it to come to a vote after reaching a compromise. An amendment was adopted to remove a provision that would've required the patient to see the same doctor a few weeks after receiving the drug.

Supporters say the measure protects the health of a mother, but opponents say it restricts abortions, particularly in rural areas where doctors are not always readily available.

 

Published in Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A sweeping anti-abortion bill is headed to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.

 

The House gave final approval Friday to the measure, which blocks tax breaks for abortion providers and outlaws abortions performed solely because of the baby's sex.

 

The measure also declares that life begins "at fertilization," language that abortion opponents call a statement of principle and not an outright ban on abortion, though the bill's opponents are skeptical.

 

Brownback is likely to sign the bill into law.

 

Abortion opponents argue the bill lessens the state's entanglement with terminating pregnancies. Abortion-rights advocates say it threatens access to abortion services.

 

The bill also prohibits abortion providers from being involved in public school sex education classes and spells out in greater detail what information doctors must provide to patients before performing abortions.

Published in National News
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- As oil-rich North Dakota moves toward outlawing most abortions, it's in a better position than most states for what could be a long and costly court battle over its restrictions.

Lawmakers on Friday sent the Republican governor two anti-abortion bills, one banning the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy and another prohibiting women from having the procedure because a fetus has a genetic defect, such as Down syndrome. They would be the most restrictive abortion laws in the U.S

Abortion-rights activists have promised a legal battle over the measures if they become law. But supporters of the bills say their goal is to challenge the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion up until a fetus is considered viable, usually at 22 to 24 weeks

Unlike other states, North Dakota isn't looking at budget cuts. The state actually has a budget surplus nearing $2 billion, thanks to new-found oil wealth. Record oil production has made North Dakota the nation's No. 2 oil producer behind Texas.

But that oil wealth has come at a price: increased crime, shortages of housing, greater costs for road repairs and other infrastructure improvements. Democratic Sen. Mac Schneider, an attorney from Grand Forks, said the Legislature should focus on those needs instead of "expensive and potentially protracted abortion litigation."

"There hasn't been near enough attention given to the costs as we've debated these issues. We need to be honest with taxpayer funds and that is: We will be spending money on attorneys," Schneider said.

But Rep. Bette Grande, a Republican from Fargo who introduced the measures, said the budget surplus wasn't part of the equation for her.

"I don't look at it from the financial side of things," Grande told The Associated Press on Friday. "I look at it from the life side of things."

Grande told lawmakers earlier in the week that fears about a legal challenge shouldn't prevent them from strengthening North Dakota's already strict abortion laws.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple hasn't said anything to indicate he would veto the measures, and the bills have enough support in each chamber for the Republican-controlled Legislature to override him. The Senate overwhelmingly approved the bills Friday, and the House passed them last month. The votes were largely on party lines, with Republicans supporting the measures and Democrats opposing them.

The state's only abortion clinic is in Fargo, and abortion-rights advocates say the measures are meant to shut it down. They urged Dalrymple to veto the bills.

The American Civil Liberties Union called the measures "extreme" and noted that many women don't realize they are pregnant until after six weeks.

"In America, no woman, no matter where she lives, should be denied the ability to make this deeply personal decision," ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said in a statement.

Outside of Fargo, the nearest abortion clinics are four hours to the south in Sioux Falls, S.D., and four hours to the southeast in Minneapolis. North Dakota is one of several states with Republican-controlled Legislatures and GOP governors that is looking at abortion restrictions. Arkansas passed a 12-week ban earlier this month that prohibits most abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected using an abdominal ultrasound. That ban is scheduled to take effect 90 days after the Arkansas Legislature adjourns. A fetal heartbeat can generally be detected earlier in a pregnancy using a vaginal ultrasound, but Arkansas lawmakers balked at requiring women seeking abortions to have the more invasive imaging technique. North Dakota's measure doesn't specify how a fetal heartbeat would be detected. Doctors performing an abortion after a heartbeat is detected could face a felony charge punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Women having an abortion would not face charges. The genetic abnormalities bill also bans abortion based on gender selection. Pennsylvania, Arizona and Oklahoma already have such laws, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks abortion restrictions across the U.S. North Dakota would be the first state to ban abortions based on a genetic defect, according to the institute. Sen. Margaret Sitte, a Republican from Bismarck, said the bill is meant to ban the destruction of life based on "an arbitrary society standard of being good enough." Some test results pointing to abnormalities are incorrect, she said, and doctors can perform surgeries even before a baby is born to correct some genetic conditions.
Published in National News

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