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Attempts to restrict abortion access abound at state level

Anti-abortion measures are advancing in state legislatures all around the country. Here’s the latest:

Alaska: Legislators halt insurance program for low-income women and children.

State senators struck down a measure that would have expanded medical care to low-income women and children yesterday. The measure was struck down because of concerns that “expanding the [insurance] program might provide funds for as many as 22 more abortions.” The bill would have expanded coverage to about 1,300 more children and 250 pregnant women.

Delaware: State unanimously moves forward on ‘complaint-driven’ regulations of medical clinics providing abortions.

State senators voted unanimously yesterday for a measure that authorizes state regulators to “investigate allegations of unsafe or unsanitary conditions inside medical clinics that conduct invasive procedures requiring anesthesia.”

In Delaware, any medical clinic that administers abortions or any procedure that requires anesthesia would be subject to “complaint-driven inspections.” The legislation is in response the indictment of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Kermit Gosnell, an abortion provider who was charged with murdering seven infants.

Indiana: Legislators move forward restrictive abortion policy, but remove language that requires doctors to tell women abortions cause breast cancer.

The Indiana legislature approved legislation yesterday that would ban abortions in the state after 20 weeks. The law has an exception for when the mother’s life is in danger due to the pregnancy. Current law allows an abortion up to 24 weeks, which is considered to be around the time of fetal viability.

Removed from the original bill was language that would require a doctor to tell women seeking an abortion that the procedure is linked to breast cancer. The amendment striking the provision from the bill came after an oncologist testified before the legislature. He claimed keeping the provision would be a “cruel and egregious deception” to women.

Oklahoma: State legislators passed two bills that further restrict abortion access.

Yesterday both the state house and senate passed legislation that adds strict limits to abortion access in the state.

House Bill 1888, or the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, has language stating that a “20-week-old fetus is capable of feeling pain,” and therefore any abortion beyond that time would be outlawed. According to state authorities, most abortions take place well before 20 weeks. The procedure is usually sought after 20 weeks because the pregnancy is a threat to the mother’s health or because of fetal abnormalities.

Senate Bill 547 is a Stupak Amendment-like bill that would prohibit elective abortion coverage in health care exchanges created through the Patient Protection and Affordable Act in 2010. The bill makes no exceptions for rape or incest. It only makes an exception for when the mother’s health is threatened.

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