As of today, 111 abortion-out-loud bills have been introduced in 31 states and four localities including the District of Columbia. Since we are working with advocates who haven’t yet introduced all their bills, we expect to end up with at least 120-130 bills introduced.
There is growing recognition of the “Abortion-Out-Loud” proactive effort and PLI’s role—This is well summarized in a new article on Bustle, What Are “Abortion-Out-Loud” Bills? Advocates Have a Compelling New Strategy To Secure Access. This follows a Rewire story that features PLI, Pro-Choice Michigan Lawmakers Ready to Go on Offense, and a TruthOut article about the proactive effort, States and Cities Push Back on Reproductive Health Attacks.
Texas generates tremendous news, again, with Handmaid’s Tale demonstration—On Monday, March 20, abortion rights advocates launched a dramatic “direct action” demonstration by wearing matching red and white outfits, based on The Handmaid’s Tale, at the Texas Senate. This strong visual statement against harsh anti-abortion legislation was the work of PLI’s grantee NARAL Pro-Choice Texas which coordinated the effort. It proved, once again, that direct action works—it not only speaks to women and men across the nation, it puts pressure on legislators leading the anti-abortion side. This is just the first step in Texas, but it was extremely effective in generating news coverage and social media, including: USA Today, Women Wear “Handmaid’s Tale” Robes in Texas Senate; Vulture, Women Wore Handmaid’s Tale Red Robes to Oppose New Abortion Legislation in the Texas Senate; Refinery 29, Women Wore Handmaid’s Tale Outfits to Texas Senate & The Photos Are Creepy; Huffington Post, Women Wore “Handmaid’s Tale” Robes to the Texas Senate; Marie Claire, A Group of Women Wore “Handmaid’s Tale” Robes to the Texas Senate; Vox, Why women wore Handmaid’s Tale robes in the Texas Senate; Slate, Activists Dressed as Characters From The Handmaid’s Tale to Protest Texas’ Anti-Abortion Measures; Glamour, Why a Group of Women Wore Handmaid’s Tale Robes to the Texas Senate; CNN, Activists are using a decades-old novel as a protest; MTV, The Thin Red Line Between The Handmaid’s Tale and Reality; San Antonio Current, Women Dress in “Handmaid’s Tale” Robes to Protest Anti-Abortion Laws at Texas Capitol; TruthOut, What Reproductive Rights Advocates Can Learn from Texas; News.Mic, This Week in Reproductive Rights; Mashable, Handmaid’s Tale protest calls out Texas’ attempts to roll back reproductive rights; Truthdig, Activists Dress in “Handmaid’s Tale” Robes to Protest Texas Abortion Legislation; DailyKos, Women wore bright red “Handmaid’s Tale” robes to protest anti-abortion bills on the Texas Senate floor.
Legislative and press activity by state:
California—AB 569, which would prohibit employment discrimination for reproductive health choices passed the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment on 3/29. AB 1312, which would provide emergency contraception for survivors of sexual assault, passed the assembly Committee on Public Safety on 3/28. Rewire, California ‘Trust Women’ License Plates to Help Pay for Reproductive Care in Trump Era. Senator Connie Leyva introduced SB 320 to require student health insurance plans offered by campuses to include coverage of abortion and offer medication abortion on campus. Press coverage includes: Teen Vogue, California State Colleges Might Provide the Abortion Pill to Students; San Francisco Chronicle, Bill would make abortion pill available at state college campuses; Sacramento Bee, Senate bill requires publicly funded colleges to provide abortion pills to students; Refinery29, This Bill Would Require Colleges To Provide Abortion Pills To Students; NBC 7 San Diego, Bill Would Require State Colleges to Provide Abortions; Live Action News, California bill would require state colleges to provide medical abortions to students; East Bay Express, UC Berkeley Students Inspire Legislation That Would Make California Colleges Provide Abortion Pill On Campus; Fusion, Meet the women trying to revolutionize abortion access at California universities; The Mercury News, Opinion: Fired for getting pregnant? That’s not right; LA Times, Anti-discrimination measure or blow to religious freedom? California bill sparks debate on employer codes of conduct.
Colorado—HB 1186, to require insurance to cover 12 months of birth control, had a hearing and passed the House on March 21. Carpe Diem Denver, COLORado 1 in 3 Abortion Speak Out Screening.
Connecticut—HB 6668, the Pregnant Women in the Workplace Act, passed the Joint Committee on Labor and Public Employees on March 9. SB 586, to require health insurance policies to cover all types of contraception, passed the Committee on Insurance and Real Estate on March 9. The anti-abortion crowd is livid about SB 449, to prevent CPC fraud, in These Four States Are Trying to Strip Pro-Lifers of Free Speech. HB 6492, which would affirm the right to choose, failed to advance.
Florida—Rep. Amy Mercado introduced HB 1339, the Florida Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE), which was referred to the House Civil Justice and Claims Subcommittee, the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Judiciary. The Senate FACE Act, SB 1740, was sent to the Senate Committees on Judiciary, Appropriations, and Rules.
Georgia—SR 487, introduced by Senator Valencia Seay to commend the Mary N. Long Scholarship, which was created in honor of a nurse who was essential in fighting for the Equal Rights Amendment and the plaintiff in Doe v. Bolton, was adopted.
Hawaii—HCR 207 and HR 135, which both affirm Equal Rights for Women and access to the full range of reproductive health options, passed the House Human Services Committee and were referred to the House Committee on Judiciary on March 29. HB 513, which would allow pharmacists to prescribe contraceptives, passed the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce on 3/30. SB 501, which would require crisis pregnancy centers to be truthful about abortion options, passed the House Judiciary Committee and is scheduled for the House floor. A similar bill, HB 663, did not receive a full House vote. HB 1573, which would require health insurers to provide coverage for reproductive health, and SB 124, which would expand the scope of practice for registered nurses by allowing them to perform aspiration abortion, both failed to make the crossover deadline on March 9. Hawaii Catholic Herald, Church opposes bill requiring pregnancy centers to post abortion info; Washington Times editorial, Safe, legal, and not so rare; Aurora News, State aims to provide abortion ads in ‘pro-life’ centers; Conservative Daily Post, Hawaii bill passes in Senate and moves to House requires ‘pro-life’ centers to advocate for abortion; Hawaii News Now, Bill targeting faith-based pregnancy clinics sparks fierce debate.
Idaho—HB 250 which would repeal the state’s medication abortion restriction and telemedicine ban in order to end a lawsuit the state is losing in the federal court was sent to the Governor on 3/24. The bill was featured in MobiHealthNews and in Health Intelligence, Idaho Revises Anti-Abortion Telemedicine Legislation; Spokesman-Review, Senate passes telemedicine abortion ban repeal 28-7, rejecting Foreman’s pitch to ‘make a stand and show everybody’; and Spokesman-Review, Bill repealing an on telemedicine abortion passes House, heads to Senate.
Iowa—Rep. Anderson introduced HB 623 on 3/31, which would prohibit a medical provider from charging a sexual assault survivor for an evidentiary examination and would require the physician to provide emergency contraception if the survivor so chooses.
Massachusetts— Boston Herald, Agreement bars ad firm from targeting women entering clinics with anti-abortion messages; Reuters (via U.S. News & World Report), Firm Settles Massachusetts Probe Over Anti-Abortion Ads Sent to Phones; Daily Collegian, UMass Students for Reproductive Justice continue fighting for student rights.
Maryland—HB 1083, to fund Planned Parenthood if it is defunded by the federal government became law without the Governor’s signature. SB 363, which would allow pharmacists to prescribe contraceptives passed the Senate. PPP Focus, Maryland Lawmakers Approve Bill to Preserve Funding for Planned Parenthood; Associated Press, Maryland Senate Passes Planned Parenthood Funding Bill; LifeSiteNews, Maryland Catholic Conference offers no resistance to state’s efforts to save Planned Parenthood funding; The Diamondback, ‘Hours really do count’: Supporters push for 24/7 Plan B Access.
Massachusetts—WBUR, Gov. Baker promises state will make up for possible federal cuts to Planned Parenthood.
Michigan—Rewire, Pro-Choice Michigan Lawmakers Ready to Go on Offense (PLI is featured).
Montana—Senator Frederick Moore introduced Draft 1964, which was also filed as HB 655 by Rep. Randy Brodehl, to amend the parental consent law for a minor’s abortion to allow a process for judicial bypass. The parental consent law is being challenged in court.
Nevada—Assemblyman Justin Watkins introduced AJR 8, a joint resolution urging the United States to protect a woman’s reproductive rights while vetting a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. The measure was approved by one committee. The Nevada Independent, Two-Minute Preview.
New Mexico—HB 179, the Pregnant Worker Accommodation Act, was sent to the governor. HB 284, which provides contraceptive insurance coverage, passed the full House and the Senate Committee on Public Affairs. HB 473, which repeals anti-abortion “trigger” language, was approved by the House Committee on Consumer and Public Affairs. SB 282, to guarantee a patient’s rights to certain reproductive health care services, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. Catholic Militant, New Mexico Bishops Rebuke Pro-Abortion Politicians; NM Political Report, House panel passes bill to remove pre Roe v. Wade law criminalizing abortion.
New York—Senator Velmanette Montgomery and seven other Senators introduced SB 5062, the End Criminalization of Condoms Act, which would amend the law to decriminalize the use of condoms and other sexual and reproductive health devices.
North Carolina—Rep. Fisher introduced HB 563 and Sen. Chaudhuri introduced SB 588 which would repeal laws that are in conflict with the Supreme Court decision in Whole Woman’s Health.
Oregon—Portland Mercury, Oregon is stepping up for reproductive healthcare; KATU, Bill looks to expand, protect reproductive health in Oregon; The Register-Guard, Oregon bill boosts reproductive health; The Linfield Review, Oregon had a backup plan to support women’s healthcare despite House Republican’s healthcare agenda.
Rhode Island—HB 5343, the Pregnant Woman Reproductive Health Act which would prohibit the state from interfering with a woman’s reproductive health decisions, including abortion, is in the House Committee on Judiciary with the recommendation that it is held for further study. Providence Journal, Edith Ajello and Gayle Goldin: Our abortion bills protect women’s rights; WPRI, Dozens testify as RI lawmakers discuss abortion bills; Providence Journal, Slew of bills sparks abortion face-off at the state house; RI Future, Averting dystopia: Preserving Roe v. Wade in Rhode Island.
Texas—Several legislators introduced budget amendments in order to expand access to abortion and redirect public funding from crisis pregnancy centers and into programs that actually help Texans. This amendment would strike the abortion affiliate ban, this amendment would move money from CPCs to Child Protective Services, this amendment would remove CPC funding and move CPC to a Sexual Assault Program, this amendment would move CPC money to acute therapy services, this amendment would move CPC money to a human trafficking victim assistance program, this amendment would mandate that the Department of State Health, and Services only prescribe medical care that is based on wide-spread and peer-reviewed scientific research and reflects best practices determined by the medical community, and this bill would require that the Women’s Right to Know booklet only included information that is medically accurate. Senator Jo Rodriguez introduced SB 1632, a Whole Woman’s Health Act. HB 330 and HB 1373, which would allow minors to consent to examination or medical treatment related to contraception, were scheduled for a public hearing on 3/29. Texas HB 747, which relates to the provision of emergency contraception to sexual assault survivors, is scheduled for public hearing on 4/5. HB 3424, to create a strategic plan for expanding access to LARCs, was sent to the House Committee on Public Health. HB 3718, which would regulate CPCs, was sent to the House Committee on State Affairs on 4/4. And HB 4260, the satire bill which regulates men’s health and safety, was sent to the House Committee on State Affairs. See Truth-out, Lessons From the Fight for Reproductive Justice in Texas.
Utah—HB 215, reproductive health services, passed the House Committee on Rules, but then the enacting clause was struck on 3/9.
Virginia—HB 2267, which covers contraception, was signed by the Governor on March 24.
District of Columbia—Resolution 75 was introduced and adopted by the City Council. It declares that the District of Columbia is committed to promoting the human rights and well-being of all its residents, workers, and visitors, including the right to make their own reproductive health decisions.