State Update: MAJOR ACTIONS IN DECEMBER
This update summarizes major developments in the states, including legislation that has passed at least one house of the legislature, executive branch actions and judicial decisions.
These summaries highlight activities in the states this month.
Click here for updates from previous months.
Click here for a summary of state legislation enacted in 2004.
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Bans on "Partial-Birth" Abortion
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed a lower court ruling and upheld an Ohio law that bans so-called partial-birth abortions. The appeals court ruled that, by exempting dilation and evacuation procedures from the ban and including an exception when the woman's health would be jeopardized, the law meets the requirements of the U.S. Supreme Court in Stenberg v. Carhart and does not place an undue burden on women seeking an abortion. As a result of the ruling, the law is now in effect.
Requirements for Parental Involvement for Minors Seeking Abortions
A federal District Court judge in New Hampshire struck down the state's newly enacted parental involvement law that required a pregnant minor to notify one parent at least 48 hours prior to an abortion. The judge ruled that the law violated the state's constitution by failing to include a health exception. The law, which included a judicial bypass and an exception in the case of life endangerment, had been set to go into effect on December 31, 2003.
Limitations on Public Funding of Abortion for Low-Income Women
A state Superior Court judge in Georgia upheld the state's law limiting public funding of abortion to cases of life endangerment, rape and incest. Arguing that the law violated the state's constitution, the America Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had filed suit seeking to expand the law to require coverage of all medically necessary abortions for Medicaid enrollees. In his dismissal, the judge found no evidence indicating that women face imminent harm due to the current policy and therefore denied the ACLU's request.
Production of the State Update is made possible by support from The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Prospect Hill Foundation.