KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Ark. Lawmakers Override Veto Of Bill Banning Most Abortions After 20 Weeks Of Pregnancy

Arkansas' Republican-controlled Senate voted to override Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of a bill that will ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The chamber also approved a bill -- and sent it to Beebe -- that would ban most abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected -- typically after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Reuters: Arkansas Bans Most Abortions After 20 Weeks Of Pregnancy
Arkansas joined seven other U.S. states on Thursday in banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy as the Republican-controlled state Senate voted to override a veto of the legislation by Democratic Governor Mike Beebe. Arkansas senators also gave final approval to a proposal that would ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat could be detected by a standard ultrasound, or about 12 weeks into pregnancy, and forwarded that bill to Beebe (Parker, 2/28).

Politico: Arkansas Legislature Passes 12-Week Abortion Ban
The Arkansas Legislature has approved the earliest abortion ban in the nation. And it’s now up to Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe to decide what to do next. If he vetoes the bill, his veto could be overridden by a simple majority in the Republican Legislature as it was earlier Thursday on a similar 20-week abortion ban bill. The Arkansas Senate gave final approval Thursday morning to the Human Heartbeat Protection Act, which would ban abortions at 12 weeks into pregnancy if a heartbeat is detected, with exceptions for cases of rape or incest, to save the life of the mother or for a lethal fetal condition. The bill now goes directly to Beebe (Smith, 2/28).

Elsewhere, South Dakota and Oklahoma consider legislation that would also affect abortion or contraception:

Reuters: South Dakota Extends Abortion Wait Period For Weekends, Holidays
The South Dakota Senate on Thursday passed a bill affecting abortion waiting times that could potentially make them the longest in the country. The bill, passed by a 24-9 vote in the Republican-controlled Senate, would exclude weekends and holidays from the calculation of a 72-hour waiting period for an abortion (2/28).

The Associated Press: Okla. House 'Morning-After' Pill Vote Delayed
The Oklahoma House delayed a vote Thursday on a bill that would prohibit the state's Medicaid authority from paying for emergency contraception coverage, after Speaker T.W. Shannon raised concerns that his proposal might jeopardize the program's federal funding. Shannon's proposal would prevent the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which oversees the state's SoonerCare Medicaid program, from covering the use of the so-called "morning-after" pill. Many conservatives say they consider the pill's use to be an abortion and don't want the state supporting it (2/28).

Issues in Virginia and Texas are also explored --

Politico: Anti-Abortion Group Susan B. Anthony List Endorses Ken Cuccinelli
The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List endorsed Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the state's gubernatorial race, committing $1.5 million to the Republican candidate’s campaign and in the process drawing criticism from Democrats. The SBA List's $1.5 million is the biggest financial commitment so far in the race, and could give Cuccinelli a boost with more than eight months to go until Election Day (Schultheis, 2/28).

The Texas Tribune: Restoring Family Planning Services Through Primary Care
The fight to restore family planning financing that was cut from the Texas budget in the last legislative session has taken a turn toward primary care. Republican state senators have proposed adding $100 million to a state-run primary care program specifically for women’s health services, an effort that would help avoid a political fight over subsidizing specialty family planning clinics (Aaronson, 3/1).

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