NEWS IN CONTEXT
State Reproductive Health Policy at Midyear
July 18, 2007
Through June 30, reproductive health advocates at the state level made significant progress in two areas: better access to emergency contraception for women who have been raped and comprehensive, medically accurate sex education in schools that includes discussion of contraception as well as abstinence. So far this year, measures to help rape victims access emergency contraception have been enacted in five states (Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota and Oregon). In addition, Colorado and Washington enacted new laws requiring discussion of both abstinence and contraception in school sex education classes.
Reproductive rights supporters also largely held the line against state abortion bans this year. Of the 27 bills that were introduced in 16 states in 2007, only two measures—both of which will take effect only if Roe v. Wade is overturned—were enacted, in Mississippi and North Dakota. Meanwhile, however, the Supreme Court’s Gonzales v. Carhart decision in April to uphold the constitutionality of the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act ignited an immediate flurry of judicial and legislative action, with federal courts re-examining previously enjoined bans in several states.
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