IN THE NEWS
Reproductive Health in the State Legislatures, January – September 2006
October 16, 2006
By the beginning of October, just over 1,200 bills on topics related to sexual and reproductive health had been introduced in the 50 state legislatures, and 107 new laws had been enacted in 37 states. Among the legislatures, 35 had adjourned for the year, and nine were still in session. (In the remaining six states, the legislature did not convene this year.)
Among the most significant measures supportive of sexual and reproductive health and rights that have been enacted so far this year are provisions that
- protect the right to choose abortion in Hawaii;
- continue Maryland’s policy funding abortion services for low-income women in cases of life endangerment, serious risk to the woman’s mental or physical health, rape, incest or fetal abnormality;
- direct Virginia to apply for a federal waiver to extend Medicaid coverage for contraceptive services to individuals with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level; and
- require health plans that cover prescription drugs to cover FDA-approved contraceptive methods in New Jersey.
Among the most significant measures antithetical to sexual and reproductive health and rights that have been enacted so far this year are provisions that
- seek to ban abortion in South Dakota and Louisiana;
- require that women seeking an abortion in Oklahoma be given unscientific information about fetal pain;
- require that a parent not only be notified but also give consent before a minor obtains an abortion in Oklahoma and Utah;
- exclude agencies that provide abortion-related services from participating in state-funded family planning programs in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania; and
- consider the fetus an independent homicide victim when a pregnant woman is killed in Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Carolina.
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