State Update: MAJOR ACTIONS IN OCTOBER
These summaries highlight activities in the states this month. As of November 1, seven state legislatures are still in regular session: MA, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA and WI
Click here for updates from previous months.
Click here for a summary of state legislation enacted so far in 2003.
Bans on "Partial-Birth" Abortion
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) vetoed a measure that would have restricted so-called partial-birth abortions. Under the legislation, a physician would have been liable for prosecution for performing an abortion in which the fetus had been partially delivered through the vagina and showed evidence of life, unless the procedure had been necessary to protect the woman's life or prevent an "imminent threat" to her health. The legislature is considering attempting to override the veto.
Requirements for Parental Consent for Minors Seeking Abortions
A state Superior Court judge in Alaska struck down the state's parental notification law that required a pregnant minor to obtain the consent of a parent prior to an abortion. The judge ruled that the law violated minors' rights to equal protection under the state's constitution by failing to require parental involvement in other circumstances when a minor makes medical decisions. The law, which had been enjoined since its enactment, included a judicial bypass clause and provided an exception in the case of a medical emergency.
Requirements for State-Directed Counseling, Followed By a Waiting Period
A U.S. District court judge temporarily blocked Missouri's new counseling and waiting period law, which required women seeking abortions to wait 24 hours after receiving counseling before having an abortion. The law is under a temporary restraining order until a hearing on January 27, 2004. The measure had become law when the legislature overrode Gov. Bob Holden's (D) veto in September.
Restricting Minors' Access to Health Care
Reproductive rights advocates filed suit in federal district court claiming that a June 2003 opinion by the Kansas attorney general violates minors' rights to privacy and could create confusion and uneven enforcement. The opinion requires that health care providers and counselors report sexual activity of anyone under the age of 16 as suspected cases of sexual abuse. Although the opinion was limited, on its face, to individuals seeking abortions, the attorney general acknowledged that the same reasoning used in the opinion could extend to minors under 16 seeking family planning and reproductive health services.
Requirements Regarding HIV Testing of Pregnant Women
California Gov. Gray Davis (D) signed legislation amending the state's law governing HIV testing of pregnant women. Prior to the amendment, state law required physicians to offer pregnant women (except those already identified as HIV positive) information about and testing for HIV. The amendment requires physicians to notify state health officials when a pregnant woman receives a positive HIV test result. The amendment goes into effect January 1, 2004.
Production of the State Update is made possible by support from The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Prospect Hill Foundation.