KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Several States Weigh New Rules On Abortion

Legislatures in several states, including Georgia, Texas and Minnesota, are considering new measures on abortion.

National Journal: Georgia Bill Would Criminalize Abortion, Force Reporting Of All Miscarriages
In an effort to end abortions in Georgia, state Rep. Bobby Franklin (R) has introduced a bill requiring hospitals and doctors to report all miscarriages. The measure will likely fail, but it is only the latest example of an increasingly aggressive effort by conservatives to limit or abolish abortion rights at the state level. Franklin's bill would make all abortions a felony offense, including some miscarriages -- if it is determined that there was any "human involvement whatsoever in the causation" of the miscarriage. The 10-page bill mandates that all miscarriages be reported to the county registrar within 72 hours of the occurrence. Miscarriages that happen outside of a medical setting would be referred to an investigator who would determine the cause of death within 30 days (Fung, 3/7).

The Dallas Morning News: House, Senate At Odds Over Versions Of Abortion Sonogram Bill
The Texas House and Senate may be headed toward a standoff over measures that would require a woman seeking an abortion to first have a sonogram. The author of the House bill, which the chamber gave final approval to Monday, said it's just a matter of who blinks first. "I'm going to keep our bill as tight as we can," said Rep. Sid Miller, R- Stephenville. The House bill, approved 107-42, will now be sent to a Senate committee. The House has yet to pick up the Senate version of the bill that passed a few weeks ago (Mulvaney, 3/7).

Houston Chronicle: Texas House OKs Its Own Sonogram Bill
The Texas House on Monday afternoon overwhelmingly approved a bill requiring a sonogram for women seeking an abortion, but a simmering intraparty feud over differing versions of the legislation is likely to delay its trip to the governor's desk. The House bill now goes back to the Senate, which approved a less stringent bill last month, but before a bill can make its way to Gov. Rick Perry for his signature, the differences between the two versions must be reconciled. State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, expressed frustration with his House counterparts for, in his view, slowing the process. "The House bill, as written, will not pass the Senate," he said. The sponsor of the House bill, Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, was just as adamant. "I can tell you for absolute certain the Senate bill would not pass the House, because it didn't," he said (Holley, 3/8).

Star Tribune: Minnesota GOP: Ban Abortion After 20 Weeks
Republican lawmakers are attempting to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks in Minnesota, echoing identical efforts by new GOP majorities across the country to curb abortion rights. The legislation, introduced in the House and Senate on Monday, would pose a direct challenge to existing laws protecting abortion and would likely face a weighty court challenge if enacted. The proposal is modeled after a first-in-the-nation law adopted last year in Nebraska that bans abortions after five months because that, supporters contend, is when developing fetuses feel pain. Opponents say there is no conclusive proof of that (Roper and Stassen-Berger, 3/7).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.