Lots of abortion rights legislation and news coverage in 19 states

Posted on February 15, 2017

This Repro Rights Report covers January 31 to February 13, 2017 and focuses on proactive abortion rights legislation introduced in states and localities.

Arizona—Legislators introduced perhaps the broadest series of proactive abortion rights bills in the nation, including: SB 1486 to allow Advanced Practice Clinicians to prescribe medication abortion, SB 1514 to require any ultrasounds at CPCs to be performed by licensed staff, SB 1497 to repeal the telemedicine abortion ban, and the omnibus SB 1352 to require insurance coverage of abortion including Medicaid, make CPCs disclose that they’re not licensed, require access to emergency contraception, and repeal waiting periods, parental notification and TRAP. In addition HB 2401 requires hospitals to disclose when they don’t offer abortion services, and HB 2429  repeals the state’s admitting privileges TRAP law. The omnibus legislation was publicized on Facebook and Twitter, including this video by Rep. Athena Salman.

CaliforniaAR 6, a Roe v. Wade anniversary resolution, passed the state Assembly.

Colorado—Legislators introduced and passed through the House HR 5, an Abortion is Health Care Resolution. Members of the state abortion rights coalition enthusiastically agreed that this action energized legislators and activists. It also gained a considerable about of press, in part because the Republican leader complained so vociferously. See for example: Colorado House Democrats pass resolution supporting reproductive rights, “Substantive” issues aside, House finds time to debate abortion, Colorado Republican leader “dismayed” by Democrats’ abortion resolution and Colorado Is Promising Its Residents Abortion & Contraception Access, Even If Trump Won’t

Connecticut—Lawmakers held a press conference to declare that they would protect abortion rights in the state and strengthen state laws to protect women’s health care. See Democratic Lawmakers Pledge to Uphold Women’s Health Care Rights in Connecticut. Legislators had introduced a Whole Woman’s Health bill, HB 6492, the previous week and subsequently fifteen legislators sponsored SB 449 to prevent crisis pregnancy centers from falsely advertising pregnancy and contraception services.

Hawaii—Legislators introduced SB 501 and HB 663 which are CPC disclosure bills similar to the law enacted in California. The Senate bill had a hearing on February 3 and passed the Judicial and Labor Committee. The House bill, HB 663 had a hearing and passed the House Committee on Health. It now goes to the House Judiciary Committee. This bill and similar legislation was publicized in Rewire, Hawaii Fake Clinics Told to Stop Breaking Privacy Laws. The anti-abortion media reacted with dismay. See Hawaii legislators introduce bills targeting pro-life pregnancy centers, LifeNews, Hawaii is Attempting to Pass a Law to Force Pregnancy Centers to Promote Abortions, Christian Post, Hawaii May Compel Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers to Promote Abortion, National Right to Life News, Hawaii joins states forcing Pregnancy Help Centers to promote abortion. SB 124 to allow qualified nurse practitioners to perform aspiration abortions, which was introduced in January, received some good publicity in the Hawaii Free Press, Hawaii Legislators Follow Abortion Playbook, on Rewire, Hawaii legislator pushing back against Trump, and in Notey Hawaii, Hawaii Democrat ‘Pushing Back’ Against Trump by Bolstering Abortion Access.

Illinois—Rep. Sara Feigenholtz’s HB 40, to protect the right to abortion by voiding the state’s “trigger law” (current law would ban abortion if Roe is overturned) PASSED the House Human Services Committee. Sen. Heather Steans introduced SB 1407, a placeholder bill in preparation for pushing the same debate in the Senate. The committee hearing and passage of HB 40 got a great deal of publicity, including: AP story in News-Gazette, Illinois House panel backs abortion protection, Chicago Tribune, Sente Backs Legislation Protecting Women’s Choice, Beloit Daily News, House Panel OKs Abortion Protection, Washington Times, House panel OKs abortion protection, Chicago Tribune, Illinois Democrats push back against Trump on abortion, Fox Illinois, Illinois House Hears Plan To Ensure Abortion Access, NBC, Legislation Looks to Keep Abortion Legal in Illinois, WBEZ, Legislators Push to Repeal State Law That Would Outlaw Abortion in Illinois, The Daily Northwestern, Illinois Democrats seek to protect abortion access, Sauk Valley, Illinois House panel OKs abortion protection, State Journal-Register, Illinois House committee approves abortion protection bill, DNA Info, Backing Abortion Rights Bill, Cassidy Speaks Up About Her Abortion, Motto (a TIME publication), Illinois Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Protect Abortion Rights, AP story in Pantagraph, Democratic state legislators weigh moves to counter Trump, TIME, How These States Are Fighting to Protect Reproductive Rights, Refinery 29, How These States Are Fighting For Reproductive Rights, Washington Post (mentioned as a state anti-Trump bill), Democratic state legislators weigh moves to counter Trump. And anti-abortion publications were horrified: LifeNews, Illinois Bill Would Make Taxpayers Fund Abortions Through All 9 Months of Pregnancy, and Christian Times, Committee approves bill ensuring abortion remains legal.

Kentucky—Rep. Joni Jenkins introduced HB 280 to create an exception from the mandatory ultrasound requirement and the 20 week ban if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. This was covered in Courier-Journal, Exempt rape, incest victims from new laws, and AZ Central, Exempt rape, incest victims from new laws.

Maryland—Delegate Marice Morales and 25 cosponsors introduced HB 1205 to require universities to make emergency contraception available.

Michigan—HR 16, an Abortion Is Health Care Resolution, was introduced.

Missouri—Legislators have introduced a robust abortion rights and reproductive health legislative agenda. They introduced HB 372 to require a pharmacy to fill a valid and lawful prescription for any FDA-approved birth control or emergency contraception, as well as HB 376 to prohibit an employer from taking an adverse employment action based on an employee’s reproductive health care decision. Additionally, legislators introduced HCR 18, an Abortion is Health Care Resolution, HB 759 to codify the right to abortion, HB 374 to prohibit crisis pregnancy centers for telling five lies, HB 236 to prohibit crisis pregnancy centers from receiving TANF funding, as well as HB 370 and HB371 to provide access and information about emergency contraception for sexual assault survivors. HB 366 would require individuals buying a gun to go through the same restrictions that women seeking abortion have to, HB 368, HB 369 and SB 71 would repeal TRAP restrictions, and HB 376 would prevent employer discrimination against employees for their reproductive health choices. Meanwhile, the Missourian wrote about an earlier-introduced bill in Bill targets state crisis pregnancy centers’ funding and misinformation.

New Mexico—Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino introduced SB 282 to require that hospitals cannot prevent health care providers from giving medically-accurate information about abortion or prevent an abortion when it’s necessary for the woman’s life or health. The NM Political Report wrote about a package of three proactive bills in Lawmakers introduce bills to expand reproductive health access, protections.

New York—AB 3696, which would require health insurance to cover abortion, was introduced. The Chief wrote about proactive abortion rights in State Takes Leading Role Opposing Trump On Muslims, Abortion.

Oregon—The state’s previously-introduced legislation to provide coverage for the full range of preventive reproductive health services at zero out-of-pocket cost, HB 2232, got a boost from an editorial in the New York Times, Protecting Birth Control Access in Oregon and was covered in KVAL, Oregon senators draft new bill: ‘The Reproductive Health Equity Act,’ TIME, How These States Are Fighting to Protect Reproductive Rights, and Refinery 29, How These States Are Fighting For Reproductive Rights.

Rhode Island—Lawmakers introduced HB 5343 to codify right to abortion and it received tremendous publicity in the Providence Journal, RI Lawmakers seek to strengthen state’s abortion stance and Bill would safeguard right to abortion, the Wall Street Journal, Rhode Island Lawmakers Seek to Protect Abortion Rights, WPRI, Reproductive Freedom Advocacy Day to be held at state house and ABC6, Pro-choice activists rally at RI State House, introduce state abortion bill. It was also covered in LSE USCentre, State of the States: RI to protect abortion rights, Rhode Island Catholic, Pro-abortion legislation could bring radical change to R.I. abortion laws, and What’s Up Newport, Are You In Favor of the Legalization of Abortion in Rhode Island?

Tennessee—Legislators introduced HB 1320 and SB 883 to ensure the availability of long-acting reversible contraceptive training, information and access.

Texas—A coalition of eleven organizations, with their champion legislators, introduced the Trust Access Respect Agenda for the 2017 legislative session. The Agenda’s bills include HB 261 to provide enhanced penalties for the assault of abortion providers, HB 262 to create an exception from penalties for a physician’s or health care professional’s professional judgment in providing certain abortion services to patients, HB 747 to provide information and other services relating to emergency contraception to sexual assault survivors, and HB 745 and HB 746 to repeal the waiting period and mandatory counseling. The coalition’s efforts have received much publicity, including: Texas Tribune, Perspectives on Texas, Abortion is Healthcare, Texas Tribune, Lawmakers mull their strategies as another abortion battle looms, Austin: Fox 7, City Council commemorates Roe v. Wade anniversary with ‘abortion’ resolution, Aimee on Austin Texas Radio, The Modeliest of Model Legislation, The Austin Chronicle, Headlines and Reproductive Rights Advocates Prepare for the Fight, Progress Texas, Texas Progressive Groups Bring Fight for Reproductive Rights and Justice to the State Capitol, Univision story about the march and reproductive rights, Univision screenshot of PLI quote in Spanish, Waco Tribune, Democrats, advocates unite to push reproductive health care, Austin-American Statesman, Groups unite to protect abortion, birth control access, NBCDFW, Democrats, Advocates Unite to Push Reproductive Health Care, TWC News, Battle Brewing Over Abortion Access in Texas. Also, NARAL Texas mentions PLI in their coverage. During the previous week, the Travis County Abortion is Health Care Resolution passed unanimously. There was press coverage of this as well as a similar Resolution passed by the Austin City Council the week before. See Texas Tribune, Abortion is Healthcare, Fox 7, City Council commemorates Roe v. Wade anniversary with ‘abortion’ resolution and a TV news story on Univision.

Vermont—Both the House and Senate passed resolutions affirming the right to abortion and these actions received considerable in-state press coverage, including the Burlington Free Press VT resolution backs Planned Parenthood, abortion rights, WMAC Vermont Legislature Supports Planned Parenthood, Abortion Rights, WCAX Vt. Legislature supports Planned Parenthood, abortion rights and the Rutland Herald Legislature debates propriety of Roe v. Wade resolution.

Virginia—Legislators had previously introduced three abortion-out-loud bills. They had hearings, and although they were voted down, the Virginia legislation got an unprecedented amount of press, for example: WTVR: Virginia House democrats seek to protect reproductive rights, Capital News Service (via WTKR), House panel Oks ‘Day of Tears’ resolution encouraging Virginians to mourn abortions, WINA, Groups Seek Ultrasound Repeal, Richmond Times-Dispatch, General Assembly Briefs: Pro-abortion rights group proposes bills, Augusta Free Press, House Democrats condemn abortion-shaming resolution, AltDaily.com, Democrats Seek to Protest Women’s Health in Virginia, Community Idea Stations, Activists Speak Out In Support Of Abortion Services Protections, NBC 12, Democrats Seek to Protect Reproductive Rights, Local Kicks, Democrats Seek to Protect Reproductive Rights, Federal News Radio, Advocate Groups call for ultrasound repeal, The Winchester Star, Advocate groups call for ultrasound repeal, Georgia World, How Virginia House Democrats seek to protect reproductive rights, Henrico Citizen, Democrats seek to protect reproductive rights, WMRA, Virginia lawmakers battle over women’s health again, The News and Advance, Abortion argument continues in Richmond, and Richmond Times-Dispatch, GOP lawmaker says committee won’t take up abortion bills that have ‘no chance’. NBC also covered abortion rights protesters calling for proactive legislation to be considered by the House Courts of Justice Committee in Abortion Rights Activists Hold Protest Outside General Assembly.

Wisconsin—One of our legislators, Rep. Chris Taylor, got an op-ed in the Onalaska-Holmen Courier-Life, Marching was fine, now it time for action.

PLI’s Roe Campaign National Coverage

The Atlantic, How Activists Are Protecting Reproductive Rights Under Trump
Teen Vogue, Bills to Be Introduced in 18 States Protecting Reproductive Rights
Elle Magazine, 18 States Have Introduced Bills to Protect Reproductive Rights
Refinery29, These 18 States Are Introducing Bills To Protect Reproductive Rights
She Knows, The 18 states fighting Trump for women’s reproductive rights
PopBuzz, 18 States Have Introduced Bills To Protect Women’s Reproductive Rights
Philanthropy New York, How Activists Are Protecting Reproductive Rights Under Trump
Oxygen, 18 States To Introduce Bills to Protect Reproductive Rights
Poll Mention: Liberal Values Blog, Americans Support Legal Abortion & Marijuana
Rewire, Abortion Rights Advocates Working to Turn the Tide in States and Localities
Our Future, Abortion Rights Advocates Working to Turn the Tide
All Len All, Abortion Rights Advocates Working to Turn the Tide in States and Localities
Reproductive Rights Prof Blog, Bills to be introduced in 18 states to protect reproductive rights
PLI listed as an anti-Trump resource, The Anti-Trump Grassroots Rundown
Governing, Amid Obamacare and Planned Parenthood Uncertainty, Some States Scramble to Protect Women’s Health
For The Vee, We Actually Have Some Good News on State Abortion Rights Today