KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

States Offer Mixed Legislative Bag On Abortion, Birth Control

Birth control and abortion legislation are making the rounds at state capitols. An abortion bill in Georgia was stopped Tuesday while Idaho backed away from its own pre-abortion ultrasound bill. Missouri advanced a bill to let some employers opt-out of providing coverage for contraception.

NPR: Texas, Feds Face Off Over Planned Parenthood
Texas and the federal government are going at each other again, this time over Planned Parenthood. The Texas Legislature cut off all Medicaid money to Planned Parenthood because of its involvement in abortions; in response, the federal government has suspended funding for the state's reproductive health program. Now, Texas is suing the Obama administration (Burnett, 3/28).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Abortion Bill Skids to Stop
In a late-hour game of chicken, House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, on Tuesday rejected the Senate's weakening of House legislation that could set new limits on abortion, effectively stranding the bill. Ralston blamed the Senate for putting House Bill 954 in jeopardy, something Senate leadership rejected."I am not sure they have the resolve to tackle this issue," Ralston said. "The House passed a very strong bill and the Senate chose to amend it, and they apparently have not shown in their insisting on their position any willingness to go back and reconsider the House position" (Quinn and Torres, 3/27).

The Associated Press/Kansas City Star: Birth Control Legislation Advances In Missouri
The Missouri Senate gave first-round approval Tuesday to a measure letting employers refuse to provide health insurance coverage for birth control in some instances. The legislation, endorsed in a voice vote, would let employers deny coverage unless an employee has a medical need for birth control. Democrats called the measure a "do-nothing" bill, noting that most of the bill’s provisions are already in state law and that Republicans had merely brought the bill up to appease religious voters (3/27).

The Associated Press: Idaho Won't Require Ultrasound Before Abortion
Idaho's Republican-controlled Legislature is backing away from a bill requiring that women seeking an abortion get an ultrasound before the procedure. The legislation has stalled in the state House after Rep. Tom Loertscher said Tuesday he wouldn't schedule a committee hearing, a move that ends the bill's chances this year (3/27).

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