KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Ala. Lawmakers Approve Controversial New Abortion Clinic Regulations

The measure, which still must be signed by the governor, would make abortion clinics use doctors with admitting privileges at local hospitals, a move opponents say could force the state's five clinics to close.

The New York Times: Alabama Legislature Passes New Limits On Abortion Clinics
The Alabama Legislature late Tuesday adopted stringent new regulations for abortion clinics that supporters called a step to protect women but that others called medically unnecessary and a disguised effort to force the closing of the state's five abortion clinics (Eckholm, 4/3).

The Wall Street Journal: Abortion Clinics Face State Curbs
The measure comes on the heels of controversial laws passed recently in Arkansas, which prohibited most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy, and North Dakota, which banned the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Legal analysts don't expect those laws to survive legal challenges under the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling (Campo-Flores, 4/3).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Alabama Legislature Passes Bill Setting Stricter Standards For Abortion Clinics
The bill requires abortion clinics to use doctors who have approval to admit patients to hospitals in the same city. Some clinics now use doctors from other cities that don't have local hospital privileges. A similar law in Mississippi is threatening to close that state's only abortion clinic, which is challenging the law in court. The bill also sets stricter building requirements, including wider halls and doors and better fire suppression systems (4/3).

Elsewhere, Texas legislators are considering stricter regulation to limit abortions --

Kaiser Health News: Texas Legislature Weighing 5 Key Proposals To Limit Abortions
Anti-abortion rights forces in Texas achieved a major triumph in 2011, the last time the state legislature convened. They passed laws requiring a 24-hour waiting period and requiring all women seeking an abortion to undergo a fetal ultrasound. The idea was to force down abortion rates by changing women’s minds. A follow-up study indicated that abortions did decline by 10-15 percent, but probably because the waiting period created logistical and financial hurdles for many women, not because women’s minds were changed (Feibel, 4/4).

And Planned Parenthood pushes for a bill in Oregon that would make clinics post what services they offer --

Lund Report: Planned Parenthood Wants Pregnancy Centers To Display Their Services
Planned Parenthood is pushing Senate Bill 490, which would require crisis pregnancy centers to declare upfront in signs whether they offer abortion, contraceptive or adoption services and if patients will receive services from a medical provider. Many of the crisis pregnancy centers offer only one or none of those services, and are merely a way of pushing an anti-abortion and anti-contraception religious agenda on unsuspecting and vulnerable women, according to Planned Parenthood (Gray, 4/3).

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