The Alan Guttmacher Institute


Monthly State Update:
MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS IN 2004

(as of 4/30/2004)

This update summarizes legislation that has passed at least one house of the legislature, executive branch actions and judicial decisions.

As of May 1, legislatures in 27 states (AL, AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, IL, KS, LA, ME, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN and VT) were in regular session. Legislatures in 16 states (FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, KY, MD, NE, NM, SD, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI and WY) have adjourned for the year. Legislatures in six states (AR, MT, NV, ND, OR and TX) will not convene in a regular session in 2004. The North Carolina legislature will convene later in the year.

Jump to actions around:

Abortion
"Choose Life" License Plates
Comprehensive Abortion Bans
Fetal Assault
"Link" Between Abortion and Breast Cancer
Mandatory Counseling and Waiting Periods
Medical Abortion
Parental Involvement
"Partial-Birth" Abortion
Postviability Abortion
Private Insurance Coverage of Abortion
Protecting Access to Clinics
Public Funding of Abortion
Requirements that Abortions be Performed by Physicians
Requirements to Report Statistical Information
Stem-Cell and Embryo Research

Pregnancy & Birth
Infant Abandonment
Substance Abuse During Pregnancy

Prevention & Contraception
Abortion-Related Restrictions on State Family Planning Funds
Contraceptive Coverage
Emergency Contraception
Parental Involvement

Refusal Clauses
Abortion Services
Contraceptive Services
General Medical Services

Youth
Child Abuse Reporting
Sex Education

ABORTION

Using Revenue from "Choose Life" License Plates to Fund Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Introduced: 15 states
States with further action—
Committee action: MO and TN
Passed at least one chamber: GA and KY

In March, the GEORGIA House passed a measure that would authorize Choose Life license plates. Funds generated from the sale of the plates would support crisis pregnancy centers and nonprofit adoption agencies, and would be prohibited from supporting agencies that refer women for abortions. If the measure is enacted, the state would have to receive 1,000 applications before the plate could go into production. The measure is now awaiting consideration by the Senate.

In February, the KENTUCKY Senate passed a bill to create Choose Life license plates. If the measure is enacted, proceeds from the sale of the plates would be distributed to organizations that counsel women on the option of adoption. The measure is awaiting consideration by the House.

In March, a U.S. District Court of Appeals reaffirmed a lower court's decision that SOUTH CAROLINA'S Choose Life license plate is unconstitutional. The court found that the state is unlawfully discriminating by allowing only the Choose Life license plate and rejecting a specialty plate promoting a pro-choice message.

Comprehensive Bans on Abortion

Introduced: 4 states
States with further action—
Passed at least one chamber: TN
Vetoed: SD

In March, the SOUTH DAKOTA legislature rejected changes to sweeping abortion legislation that had been recommended by Gov. Mike Rounds (R) when he vetoed the measure; the legislature's action effectively kills the bill. The measure as passed by the legislature would have banned all abortions, except when the pregnancy would either endanger the woman's life or cause her irreversible physical harm. The legislature had passed the original version of the measure in February.\xA0

In April, a subcommittee in the TENNESSEE House rejected a measure that would have placed a constitutional amendment on abortion on the 2004 ballot. The proposed amendment would have asserted that the state constitution neither protects a woman's right to abortion nor requires public funding of abortion. The ballot initiative had passed the Senate in March.

Penalizing Assault on Fetuses and Pregnant Women

Introduced: 21 states
States with further action—
Committee action: CA, MD, NE and NH
Passed at least one chamber: KS, MS, OK and VA
Enacted: KY
Vetoed: WV

In March, the KANSAS House approved a measure that would allow an "unborn child," from conception to birth, to be considered a victim of murder if the pregnancy is ended during the commission of a felony or misdemeanor, or as the result of a car accident. The measure would specifically exclude actions by the pregnant woman and medical treatment, including abortion. The bill is awaiting consideration by the Senate.

(ENACTED) In February, KENTUCKY Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) signed legislation that would allow an "unborn child" from the moment of conception to be considered a victim of murder. The law exempts actions taken by a health care provider during a legal abortion, fertility procedures and medical treatment, as well as actions taken by a pregnant woman, that result in the end of a pregnancy. The measure passed both houses of the legislature in January.

In March, the MISSISSIPPI Senate passed a measure that would revise the state's fetal homicide law, which allows an "unborn quick child" to be considered a victim of manslaughter. ("Quickening" is a concept and is the point in pregnancy when the woman first feels fetal movement.) The bill would allow an "unborn child" at any point from conception through delivery to be considered a victim of homicide or manslaughter. The bill is awaiting consideration by the House.

In March, the OKLAHOMA House approved a bill that would allow an "unborn child" from conception through delivery to be considered a victim under the state's murder statutes. The bill would exempt legal abortion, medical treatment and any acts taken by the woman from prosecution. The bill is now awaiting consideration by the Senate.

In April, VIRGINIA Gov. Mark Warner (D) sent two identical measures that would allow a fetus to be considered a victim of murder back to the legislature with a recommendation to add an exception for legal abortion. The legislature refused to accept this recommendation, and returned the measures to the governor unchanged. The governor may veto the bills, let them go into effect without signature or sign them. The measures had passed each house of the legislature in February.

In March, WEST VIRGINIA Gov. Wise (D) vetoed a measure that would have allowed a fetus at any point in gestation to be considered a victim of murder. Under the measure, the pregnant woman and the fetus would have been considered two distinct victims for the crimes of murder, manslaughter and assault. Legal abortion, medical treatment, actions taken in self-defense and any actions taken by the woman were excluded.

Materials Claiming a Link Between Abortion and Breast Cancer

In January, a CALIFORNIA state appeals court upheld a lower court decision dismissing a lawsuit brought against Planned Parenthood Federation of America on the grounds that information on its Web site attesting to the safety of abortion procedures and denying a link between breast cancer and abortion is false and misleading. The judge ruled that the information on the Web site is not inaccurate and is protected speech under both the California and federal constitutions.

Mandatory Counseling and Waiting Periods Before Abortion

Women Required to Receive State-Directed Counseling:

Introduced: 13 states
States with further action—
Committee action: MN

Requirements for State-Directed Counseling Followed by a Waiting Period:

Introduced: 19 states
States with further action—
Committee action: CO
Passed at least one chamber: ID and OK
Vetoed: AZ

In January, a U.S. District Court judge approved a settlement regarding ALABAMA'S counseling and waiting period law, which requires that the state develop informational materials that must be distributed to women 24 hours prior to an abortion. Among other things, the settlement directs the state to not include material alleging a link between breast cancer and abortion. Clinics began distributing the revised materials in April. In July 2003, distribution of the materials was enjoined, pending a judicial review to determine the accuracy of the information.

In March, ARIZONA Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) vetoed legislation that would have required a woman to receive counseling and then wait 24 hours before having an abortion. The measure, which had included an exception in the case of a medical emergency, would have required the physician to inform the woman of the gestational age of the fetus, risks associated with the procedure and alternatives to abortion. Prior to the procedure, the woman would have had to certify in writing that she had received counseling. The legislature had passed the measure in February.

In March, a committee in the IDAHO House rejected a measure that would have required a woman to receive counseling either by telephone or in person, and then wait 24 hours before obtaining an abortion. The measure would have required the physician to counsel women on the abortion procedure and provide information on the gestational age of the fetus, as well as on the medical risks associated with abortion and with carrying the pregnancy to term. The physician would also have been required to inform women of the availability of additional information on a state-developed Web site. The measure was passed by the Senate earlier in March.

In March, the OKLAHOMA House passed a measure that would require a woman to receive state-directed counseling and then wait 24 hours prior to having an abortion. The measure would require the physician to inform the woman in person or over the phone of the medical risks associated with abortion and carrying the pregnancy to term, the gestational age of the fetus and the availability of additional information on a state-developed Web site. The measure would allow an exception in the case of medical emergency, life endangerment or threat to the woman's physical health. The measure is awaiting consideration in the Senate.

Legislation Concerning Medical Abortion

Introduced: 5 states
States with further action—
Committee action: OH

Requirements for Parental Involvement in Minors' Abortions

Parental Consent Requirements:

Introduced: 12 states
States with further action—
Committee action: WI
Vetoed: MI

In February, the MICHIGAN legislature failed to override Gov. Jennifer Granholm's (D) veto of a measure to amend the judicial bypass provisions of the state's existing parental consent statute. The measure would have outlined specific factors that a judge must consider when ruling on a minor's request, including familial dependence, school attendance, academic performance, life experiences and the circumstances of the pregnancy, as well as the reasons for seeking an abortion and for wanting a judicial bypass. The current law specifies only that a judge consider the minor's maturity when ruling on a minor's request. The measure had passed the legislature in January.

Parental Notification Requirements:

Introduced: 12 states
States with further action—
Passed at least one chamber: FL and GA
Enacted: NE

In April, the FLORIDA legislature passed a measure to add a proposed constitutional amendment to the November 2004 ballot. The proposed amendment would require an unemancipated minor to notify a parent or guardian prior to obtaining an abortion. If the amendment is approved by the voters, the legislature would then be able to add a provision allowing a minor to obtain court approval in lieu of notifying a parent. Proponents believe an amendment is necessary because the Florida Supreme Court knocked down the state's parental notification law last year.

In February, the GEORGIA Senate passed a bill that would amend the state's parental notification law. The measure would require a parent or guardian to show proof of identification when accompanying a minor seeking an abortion. Alternatively, the physician would be required to inform one parent of the minor's intent, as well as the location of the abortion facility, at least 24 hours prior to the procedure. If the parent being notified indicates either that he or she already knew of the minor's intent or has no wish to consult with the minor, the waiting period may be waived. The bill would allow the minor to petition for a judicial bypass. The measure is awaiting consideration by the House.

(ENACTED) In March, NEBRASKA Gov. Mike Johanns (R) signed legislation to eliminate the requirement that school districts inform students that a parent must be notified before a minor obtains an abortion. Currently, each district must provide this information to students, along with information about the process for obtaining a judicial bypass. It passed the legislature earlier in March.

Parental Involvement-Other:

Introduced: 1 state
States with further action—
Passed at least one chamber: MO

In April, the MISSOURI House passed a measure that would prohibit a person from helping a minor obtain an abortion without parental consent, regardless of whether the procedure was performed in or out of state. In addition to imposing criminal penalties, the bill would allow a minor or her parent to sue any person who fails to comply. The measure is awaiting consideration by the Senate.

Bans on "Partial-Birth" Abortion

Introduced: 8 states
States with further action—
Committee action: NH and MA
Enacted: UT

(ENACTED) In March, UTAH Gov. Olene Walker (R) signed legislation amending the state's "partial-birth" abortion ban. The measure eliminates the health exception in existing law, thereby allowing the procedure only when the woman's life is threatened. It also deletes any reference to dilation and extraction, making the ban potentially applicable to other abortion procedures. In addition, the measure allows the "father" of the fetus and the pregnant women's parents to sue for financial damages. The law will go into effect in June. The Senate passed the measure in January; the House passed it in February.

In February, a federal District Court judge permanently enjoined VIRGINIA'S ban on "partial-birth" abortion that had been enacted last year. The judge ruled that because of the vagueness of the law's definition of the procedure being banned and the absence of a health exception, the measure did not meet the requirements of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2000 ruling in Stenberg v. Carhart.

Restrictions on Postviability Abortion

Introduced: 7 states

Restrictions on Private Insurance Coverage of Abortion

Introduced: 8 states
States with further action—
Committee action: RI

Protecting Access to Clinics

Introduced: 4 states

Limitations on Public Funding of Abortion for Low-Income Women

Introduced: 14 states
States with further action—
Committee action: NH and TN
Enacted: UT

(ENACTED) In March, UTAH Gov. Olene Walker (R) signed a measure permitting public funding of abortion when the woman would suffer irreparable physical harm as a result of the pregnancy. The state currently funds abortions only in cases of life endangerment, rape and incest. The Senate passed the measure in January; the House passed it in February.

Requirements that Abortions be Performed by Physicians

Introduced: 5 states
States with further action—
Committee action: NH

Requirements that Abortion Providers Report Statistical Information to State Agencies

Introduced: 12 states
States with further action—
Committee action: AK, NH, OK and VA
Passed at least one chamber: MS
Enacted: SD

In April, the MISSISSIPPI Senate passed a measure that would require a physician to file a written report with the Health Department regarding any patient with complications resulting from an abortion. The bill would require the physician to report the cost of treatment for the complications and whether it was billed to private or public insurance. The measure passed the House in March and is awaiting approval by Gov. Haley Barbour (R). If signed, the measure will go into effect in July.

(ENACTED) In March, SOUTH DAKOTA Gov. Mike Rounds (R) signed legislation expanding the information physicians are required to report about abortion procedures. Specifically, the measure requires physicians to report the woman's marital status, educational status and race, and whether she is Hispanic. Additionally, the physician will be required to include the age of the "father" if the woman is younger than 16; the measure specially permits this information to be used in any subsequent legal proceedings. Current law requires reporting of only the abortion method used, gestational age and reason for the procedure. The law will go into effect in July. The Senate passed the measure in January; the House passed it in February.

Regulating Stem-Cell and Embryo Research

Introduced: 25 states
States with further action—
Committee action: CT, NE, NY and OK
Passed at least one chamber: MS
Enacted: NJ and SD

In March, the MISSISSIPPI House approved a bill that would ban human cloning and research using human stem cells. The measure would also ban transferring or receiving tissue for use in human cloning. The bill is awaiting consideration by the Senate.

(ENACTED) In January, NEW JERSEY Gov. Jim McGreevey (D) signed a bill that bans cloning to produce a human being, but permits the use of human embryonic stem cells for therapeutic research purposes, including research involving somatic cell nuclear transfer, a process often associated with cloning. The law requires research to be reviewed to ensure that the project follows federal regulations. In addition, it requires physicians providing infertility treatment to inform patients that they have the option of donating unused embryos for research. The law went into effect upon signing.

(ENACTED) In February, SOUTH DAKOTA Gov. Mike Rounds (R) signed a bill that bans human cloning, stem cell research and a commonly used procedure that places the nucleus of one cell into a different one. The law goes into effect in July.

PREGNANCY & BIRTH

Legalizing Infant Abandonment

Introduced: 8 states
States with further action—
Passed at least one chamber: HI and IL

In March, the HAWAII House approved a measure that would allow an infant younger than 72 hours to be legally abandoned under certain circumstances. The infant would have to be relinquished to an employee of a hospital, fire station or police station; a medical history would have to be provided The receiving institution would not inquire into the parent's identity but could provide information on social services. The bill is awaiting action in the Senate.

In March, both chambers of the ILLINOIS legislature approved identical measures that would amend the state's infant abandonment law to include police stations as locations at which an infant may be abandoned. The Rules Committee in each house of the legislature is determining the next legislative step for each of the two measures.

Combating Substance Abuse During Pregnancy

Introduced: 7 states
States with further action—
Committee action: CA and HI
Enacted: CO

In April, COLORADO Gov. Bill Owens (R) signed a measure that allows a law enforcement officer to take a newborn younger than 72 hours into protective custody. While a court order is generally required if the custody lasts longer than 24 hours, a court order is not needed if the infant is affected by substance abuse or exhibits withdrawal symptoms from prenatal drug exposure. The law will go into effect in July. The Senate passed the measure in February, and the House passed it in March.

PREVENTION & CONTRACEPTION

Abortion-Related Restrictions on Family Planning Funds

Introduced: 9 states
States with further action—
Passed at least one chamber: MN

In April, the MINNESOTA House approved restrictions on the distribution of state family planning funds to agencies that use other funds to provide abortion services. State-funded family planning providers would have to be completely independent from organizations that provide abortions. Specifically, the organizations would have to be separately incorporated and could not share a name, medical or nonmedical facilities, equipment, expenses or employee wages. Under the measure, an organization that receives state funds for family planning could provide nondirective counseling on pregnancy options but could not provide marketing materials about abortion services or advocate on behalf of abortion. Organizations that receive Title X funds may provide any and all services as required by federal statute or guideline. The bill is awaiting consideration in the Senate.

Providing Contraceptive Coverage

Introduced: 20 states
States with further action—
Committee action: AL, LA, MN, OK, PA, VA and WV

Emergency Contraception

Offering Emergency Contraception Services to Sexual Assault Victims:

Introduced: 12 states
States with further action—
Committee action: CO, MA and MN
Passed at least one chamber: HI and IL

In April, the HAWAII Senate passed a measure that would require hospital emergency rooms to offer written and oral information on emergency contraception to women who have been sexually assaulted and to provide emergency contraception to these women on request. The bill would also require individuals caring for women who have been sexually assaulted to receive training on emergency contraception. The bill, which had passed the House in March 2003, is now pending before a conference committee. (A measure with the same intent was vetoed last year by Gov. Linda Lingle (R) because it did not include a refusal clause; the current measure also does not include a refusal clause.)\xA0

In March, the ILLINOIS Senate passed a measure that would amend the state's existing requirement that hospital emergency rooms provide information on emergency contraception. The measure would allow advanced nurse practitioners and physician assistants who are acting under the aegis of collaborative practice arrangements with physicians to prescribe emergency contraception to sexual assault victims in emergency rooms. The bill is awaiting action in the House.

Allowing Pharmacists to Provide Emergency Contraception without a Prescription:

Introduced: 9 states
States with further action—
Committee action: IL, MA and NY
Passed at least one chamber: NH
Enacted: ME

(ENACTED) In March, MAINE Gov. John Baldacci (D) signed legislation to allow pharmacists to provide emergency contraception when acting under collaborative practice agreements with individuals permitted by state law to prescribe medication. The measure requires pharmacists to undergo specific training and to provide patients with a fact sheet that will be developed by the state's pharmacy board. The law will go into effect in July. The legislature passed the measure in February.

In March, the NEW HAMPSHIRE Senate passed a measure that would allow pharmacists to dispense emergency contraception without a prescription, in accordance with standardized procedures developed by the state's pharmacy board. A pharmacist who wishes to dispense emergency contraception must complete a training program and agree to provide a fact sheet developed by the state's pharmacy board in consultation with the Department of Health and other health care organizations. The measure is awaiting consideration in the House.

Restricting Access to Emergency Contraception:
Introduced: 1 state
States with further action—
Passed at least one chamber: VA

In March, the VIRGINIA Senate rejected a measure that would have required minors seeking emergency contraception to obtain parental consent, except when doing so could have negatively affected the minor's health. Also, the measure would require health care providers to inform minors of the potential risks and that emergency contraception "may inhibit implantation of a live human embryo." This information would have to have been provided either in person or by telephone at least four hours before the prescription was written or by mail 48 hours in advance. The House had approved the measure in February.

In February, a committee in the VIRGINIA Senate rejected a bill that would have banned the provision of emergency contraception by public universities; the measure had previously passed the House earlier in the month.

Parental Consent Requirements for Minors Seeking Contraceptive Services

Introduced: 3 states
States with further action—
Committee action: MN

REFUSAL CLAUSES

Establishing the Right to Refuse to Provide Abortion Services

Allowing Health Professionals to Refuse:

Introduced: 5 states
States with further action—
Passed at least one chamber: MS and WI

In April, each chamber of the MISSISSIPPI legislature considered allowing health care providers, including pharmacists or other pharmacy employees, counselors, social workers, health insurers and health care facilities to refuse to provide medical services, including counseling and referral, on religious or ethical grounds. The measure also prohibits the denial of public assistance, including monetary benefits, because of a refusal to provide or pay for services. In March, the Senate had passed a measure that would have allowed a refusal to provide abortion services; also that month, the House had passed a broader measure that would have allowed a refusal to provide any medical care. In April, the Senate rejected the House-passed version while the House broadened the Senate version to permit a refusal to provide any medical care. This version is now awaiting consideration in a conference committee.

In April, WISCONSIN Gov. Jim Doyle (D) vetoed a measure that would have expanded the state's existing refusal clause in two ways. First, it would have permitted nurses and pharmacists to refuse to provide abortions because of a religious or moral objection. Second, it would have allowed a refusal to participate in fetal tissue transplantation or the destruction of human embryos.

Allowing Insurers to Refuse:

Introduced: 2 states
States with further action—
Passed at least one chamber: MS

(See Allowing Health Professionals to Refuse for MISSISSIPPI.)

Allowing Pharmacists to Refuse:

Introduced: 6 states
States with further action—
Passed at least one chamber: MS
Vetoed: WI

(See Allowing Health Professionals to Refuse for MISSISSIPPI and WISCONSIN.)

Allowing Facilities to Refuse:

Introduced: 1 state
States with further action—
Passed at least one chamber: MS

(See Allowing Health Professionals to Refuse for MISSISSIPPI)

Provisions Allowing Health Professionals to Refuse to Provide Contraceptive Services

Introduced: 2 states

Establishing the Right to Refuse to Provide Medical Care in General

Allowing Health Professionals to Refuse:

Introduced: 8 states
States with further action—
Committee action: WI and WA
Passed at least one chamber: MI and MS

In April, the MICHIGAN House approved a measure that would allow individual medical providers, including pharmacists, to refuse to provide health care services because of a moral, ethical or religious objection. Although the measure would explicitly prohibit an individual from refusing to provide contraceptive services, it limits that protection to services provided "in advance of sexual intercourse," thereby permitting a provider to refuse to provide emergency contraception. The measure is awaiting consideration in the Senate. (The House also approved a separate measure aimed at health care facilities—see Allowing Facilities to Refuse.)

In April, each chamber of the MISSISSIPPI legislature considered allowing health care providers, including pharmacists or other pharmacy employees, counselors, social workers, health insurers and health care facilities to refuse to provide medical services, including counseling and referral, on religious or ethical grounds. The measure also prohibits the denial of public assistance, including monetary benefits, because of a refusal to provide or pay for services. In March, the Senate had passed a measure that would have allowed a refusal to provide abortion services; also that month, the House had passed a broader measure that would have allowed a refusal to provide any medical care. In April, the Senate rejected the House-passed version while the House broadened the Senate version to permit a refusal to provide any medical care. This version is now awaiting consideration in a conference committee.

Allowing Insurers to Refuse:

Introduced: 7 states

States with further action—

Passed at least one chamber: MI and MS

(See Allowing Health Professionals to Refuse for MISSISSIPPI.)

Allowing Pharmacists to Refuse:

Introduced: 7 states
States with further action—
Passed at least one chamber: MI and MS

(See Allowing Health Professionals to Refuse for MICHIGAN and MISSISSIPPI.)

Allowing Facilities to Refuse:

Introduced: 7 states
States with further action—
Passed at least one chamber: MI and MS

(See Allowing Health Professionals to Refuse for MISSISSIPPI.)

In April, the MICHIGAN House approved a measure that would allow health care facilities, including pharmacies, to refuse to provide health care services because of a moral, ethical or religious objection. The measure is awaiting consideration in the Senate. (The House also approved a separate measure aimed at individual health care providers—see Allowing Health Professionals to Refuse.)

YOUTH

Requirements for Child Abuse Reporting

Introduced: 2 states
States with further action—
Committee action: CA and FL

Sex Education

Provisions Requiring Sex Education:

Introduced: 15 states
States with further action—
Committee action: CA, MI and VA
Passed at least one chamber: CO and MN

In March, the COLORADO House passed a measure that would allow parents to remove their children from sex education classes. Before the course begins, a parent would receive information about the content of the instruction and a form to use to register their "opt-out." The bill is awaiting consideration by the Senate.

In April, the MICHIGAN Senate approved two measures that would amend the state's sex education law, which requires that abstinence be included in the sex education taught in the state. One of the bills would require that abstinence be emphasized and that the instruction include a discussion of the benefits of abstinence before marriage and the possible emotional, economic and legal consequences of sex. The other measure would establish a system for parents to file complaints if they believe instruction violates state law. Both measures are awaiting consideration in the House.

Provisions Requiring HIV Education:

Introduced: 1 state

Provisions Requiring that Sex Education Curricula be Medically Accurate:

Introduced: 6 states
States with further action—
Committee action: AZ, MI, MN and WA




Production of the State Update is made possible by support from The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Prospect Hill Foundation.




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