In the past year, many states with Republican-controlled legislatures have led a push to
tighten their abortion laws and increase regulations.That push has stirred some controversy over the past month, especially, as four states have moved to restrict abortion amid intense protests from pro-choice groups.
Texas is the state that has garnered the most attention, after State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) participated in a marathon filibuster of the bill late last month — and Gov. Rick Perry subsequently called a special session of the Texas legislature to pass the bill.
But legislatures in North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin have also brought up bills in the past few weeks. Here’s a quick look at where each one stands.
The Bill: H.B. 2
What’s In It: The bill would ban abortions any later than 20 weeks after conception and require physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where the abortion is performed. Critics argue that this would prompt the closure of 37 of the state’s 42 abortion clinics and leave many women without access to facilities.
Current Status: After Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) called a special session of the legislature, H.B. 2 passed the Texas House Wednesday in a 96-49 vote. The state Senate is expected to vote early next week — and Davis has said she won’t attempt to filibuster the legislation this time. Gov. Perry is expected to sign the bill if it gets to his desk.
The Bill: Health and Safety Law Changes (S.B. 353, “The Motorcycle Abortion Bill”)
What’s In It: Aside from some motorcycle safety provisions, the bill authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services to “apply any requirement for the licensure of ambulatory surgical centres to the standards applicable to clinics certified by the department to be suitable facilities for the performance of abortion.” A doctor would also need to be present during the first dose of a chemical abortion and the entirety of a surgical abortion. The heightened standards could endanger some of the state’s 16 clinics — only one is currently a licensed ambulatory surgery centre, according to ABC News.
Current Status: The bill passed the state House Thursday by a 74-41 vote after a highly charged debate. It has yet to be considered by the Senate. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory threatened to veto a similar bill, but this version was tweaked.
The Bill: S.B. 206
What’s In It: The law requires doctors to perform ultrasounds on women seeking abortions before administering the procedure, accompanied by a description of any visible features. Doctors performing abortions need to have admitting privileges at a hospital less than 30 miles from the abortion site.
Current Status: The bill became law in June, but a federal judge granted a restraining order after Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin filed a lawsuit. The law is temporarily blocked, pending a full hearing on July 17.
The Bill: H.B. 200
What’s In It: Ohio’s regulations were signed as part of a state budget bill by Gov. John Kasich.
It requires physicians to perform ultrasounds and describe fetal features to women seeking abortions, inform women of a medically-disputed increased risk of breast cancer, warn of fetal pain, and tell patients exactly how much money they are making from providing abortions. The waiting period from when a woman meets with her physician to when the abortion is performed is increased from 24 to 48 hours. The bill also redefines the “medical emergency” situation under which a woman can procure an abortion from one that threatens a woman’s health to one that would result in her death.
Current Status: Gov. John Kasich (R) signed the regulations into law when he approved the state’s new $62 billion state budget at the beginning of July.
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