KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Mass. To Weigh Options On Abortion Safeguards; Mo. Gov. Vetoes Bill

Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick says he wants new legislation by the end of the month to strengthen security around clinics. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoes a bill that would require women to wait 72 hours for the procedure.

Associated Press:  Massachusetts Working On Abortion Clinic Bill To Strengthen Security Measures
Gov. Deval Patrick said Wednesday he expects to have a bill on his desk by the end of the month that would strengthen security around abortion clinics in Massachusetts. The legislation is a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous decision last week striking down the state’s 35-foot buffer zone law, deeming it an unconstitutional restraint on the free-speech rights of protesters (LeBlanc, 7/2).

Politico: Massachusetts Readies New Abortion Clinic Protections
Massachusetts leaders, still smarting from a unanimous Supreme Court rebuke, are preparing to take another shot at keeping protesters away from women entering abortion clinics in the state. The high court last week ruled that Massachusetts' 35-foot "buffer zone" outside the facilities is unconstitutional. A majority of justices said such a large area is overly restrictive of free speech (Cheney, 7/2).

Los Angeles Times: Abortion Foes Get Up Close And Personal After Court Erases Buffer Zones 
Though the Supreme Court decision applied only to the Massachusetts law, advocates on both sides of the debate say it eventually could apply to a variety of ordinances across the country that are aimed at minimizing conflicts in some of the nation's most contentious terrains. New Hampshire last month approved a 25-foot buffer zone around its clinics, and cities including Sacramento, San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Portland, Maine, also have fixed-distance buffer zone laws in place. Many other municipalities, including Los Angeles, require protesters to stay 8 feet away from patients who are within 100 feet of a clinic. Those laws also could be the next targeted by the antiabortion movement after last week's decision (Semuels, 7/2).

The Associated Press: Missouri Governor Vetoes 72-Hour Abortion Wait
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed legislation Wednesday that would have required a 72-hour wait for women seeking abortions, asserting that legislators showed a "callous disregard for women" by granting no exception for rape and incest victims. Republican legislators quickly vowed to override the Democratic governor's decision, and they may have the numbers to do so (Lieb, 7/2).

St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  Nixon Vetoes 72-hour Waiting Period For Abortions In Missouri
Setting up an election-year showdown with the Legislature, Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed on Wednesday a bill that would have required a 72-hour waiting period for abortions in Missouri. Nixon said the bill’s lack of an exception for victims of rape and incest was a "glaring omission" that was "wholly insensitive to women who find themselves in horrific circumstances." But even if the bill had contained such an exception, he would have vetoed it, Nixon said in unusually sharp criticism of an abortion bill (Young, 7/3).

Minnesota Public Radio: Minn. Abortions Drop To Lowest Number Since 1970s
A Minnesota Department of Health report finds the number of abortions performed in Minnesota dropped seven percent last year to 9,903. The annual assessment marks the first time since the mid-1970s that that the number of abortions has been below 10,000. Advocates on both sides of the abortion debate said the lower number reflects their efforts to help women (Zdechlik, 7/2).

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