KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Ariz. Abortion Law Challenged In Lawsuit; Mo. Gov. Vetoes Contraception Bill

News outlets look at these developments in states and also assess overall efforts this year by state legislatures to restrict abortions as some states to continue to press against the Obama administration's contraceptive coverage mandate.

NPR: State Legislatures Stay Busy On Abortion Laws
2011 was a banner year for state laws restricting abortion. And 2012 looks like runner-up. That's the central finding of the midyear report from the Guttmacher Institute, the reproductive policy research group that keeps track of such things. There were 39 laws restricting abortion enacted in the first half of 2012. While that's less than half the 80 put in place during the first half of last year (Rovner, 7/12).

The Associated Press: GOP Pressing On With Contraception Lawsuit
Seven states trying to block part of the federal health care law that requires contraception coverage will continue with their lawsuit despite last month's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld most of the law, according to Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, who is leading the case. The federal lawsuit is challenging a rule that requires contraception coverage in health care plans -- including for employees of church-affiliated hospitals, schools and outreach programs. The suit argues that the rule violates the rights of employers that object to the use of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs (Schulte and Murphy, 7/12).

The New York Times: Lawsuit Tries To Block New Arizona Abortion Law
A group of doctors and women's rights advocates challenged Arizona's new abortion limits in a federal lawsuit on Thursday, claiming that they violate the Constitution and pose a threat to women's health (Eckholm, 7/12). 

Reuters: Rights Groups File Suit Challenging Arizona Abortion Ban
Rights groups challenged a controversial Arizona law banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy on Thursday, seeking to block the measure before takes effect in early August. The law was signed by Republican Governor Jan Brewer in April, handing Republicans a win in an ongoing national drive to impose greater restrictions on abortion in a presidential election year (Schwartz, 7/12).

Arizona Republic: Lawsuit Challenges Arizona Abortion Restrictions
Three Arizona abortion providers went to federal court Thursday to try to block an Arizona law that bans most abortions beginning at 20 weeks. They are seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the law before it takes effect Aug. 2. The suit alleges the legislation violates the protections outlined in the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision, which permits abortions before a fetus is viable (Pitzl, 7/12).

St. Louis Beacon:  Nixon Vetoes Measure Targeting Coverage Of Contraceptives
Days before the deadline, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have allowed employers to decline to provide coverage for abortion, contraception or sterilization.  In his veto letter made public this morning, the governor said that state law already "provided strong religious protections"’ that allow employers to decline to provide coverage for abortion or contraceptives.  But Nixon said the new bill, SB 749, extended such rights to insurance companies and would allow them to deny such coverage "even if that position is inconsistent with the right and beliefs of the employee or employer" (Mannies, 7/12).

Reuters: Missouri Law To Deny Birth Control Coverage Vetoed
Missouri's Democratic Governor Jay Nixon on Thursday vetoed a bill that could have resulted in women being denied insurance coverage for contraception, in the latest battle over Catholic Church objections to providing birth control coverage as part of the new health care law. Republican lawmakers in Missouri drafted the law in response to President Barack Obama's policy of requiring insurers to cover birth control for free as part of the new federal health care law, even if they work for a church or other employer that has a moral objection (Murphy, 7/12).

Kansas City Star: Override Of Nixon's Veto Of Contraception Insurance Limits Predicted
A bill allowing Missouri employers to choose whether to cover contraception and abortion services may still become law, despite Gov. Jay Nixon's veto Thursday. Lawmakers of both parties said the veto was primed for an override when lawmakers reconvene in September. "I'd put it at a 100 percent chance that we'll pass an override in the Senate, and I would put it in the 95 percentile that the House does it, too," said Sen. Will Kraus, a Lee's Summit Republican (Kraske, 7/12).

The Associated Press: More Abortion Restrictions Anticipated In Miss.
The owner of Mississippi's only abortion clinic said Thursday she expected legislators to keep trying to put new restrictions on the facility and the procedure, regardless of how a federal judge rules in a fight over a new state law. "They've made their intent quite clear," Diane Derzis told The Associated Press. "They're going to keep coming back. They're not going to be satisfied until they have driven us out of business. I think everybody can see that” (Pettus, 7/12).

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