KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Abortion: Restrictive Bills Proceed In Ariz., Iowa; Miss. Law Targets States Only Clinic

A pair of bills passed the Arizona Senate Thursday to prohibit public money for family-planning from going to organizations that give abortions and to allow some businesses to avoid paying for contraception for employees. Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer also signed a bill banning most late-term abortions.

Arizona Republic: Bill On Abortion Funding Advances In Senate
The state Senate gave preliminary approval Thursday to a bill that would prohibit public money intended for family-planning services from going to organizations that provide abortions. Opponents called House Bill 2800 a thinly veiled swipe at Planned Parenthood that would curtail access to health-care services such as breast exams and testing for sexually transmitted diseases, particularly for Medicaid recipients (Smith, 4/12).

Arizona Republic: Arizona Senate Passes Controversial Contraception Measure
The Arizona Senate passed a controversial bill Thursday to allow certain businesses to opt out of providing contraception health-care coverage, with a promise from the bill's sponsor to amend it before it goes to the governor. The revised version would only apply to religious-based employers such as St. Vincent de Paul. According to a draft of the proposed amendment, it would be revised to apply to only "religiously affiliated" employers (Rau, 4/12).

Reuters: Arizona Governor Signs Law Banning Most Late-Term Abortions
The measure, which state lawmakers gave a final nod to on Tuesday, would bar health care professionals from performing abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in the case of a medical emergency. ... With [Gov. Jan] Brewer's signature, Arizona joins six other states that have put similar late-term abortion bans in place in the past two years  (Schwartz, 4/12).

Iowa lawmakers are also fighting about public money and contraception --

Des Moines Register: GOP Proposals Set Off Firestorm In Senate
Democrats and Republicans clashed in the Iowa Senate on Thursday in one of the most stinging rounds of political debate so far this session. One Republican proposal ... would have yanked all state money for women’s health services at any organization that performs abortions, which is most directly targeted at Planned Parenthood (Clayworth, 4/12).

Des Moines Register: Iowa House Leaders Differ On End Of Legislative Session, Reasons For Delay
[Democratic Minority Leader Kevin] McCarthy noted that one of the biggest pieces of the budget – funding for health and human services, including Medicaid – has been delayed for weeks in the House. He suggested the delay resulted from divisions within the Republican caucus, with the social conservatives among them refusing to support the budget unless it contains further restrictions on abortion or funding for organizations that offer abortion services (Noble, 4/12).

And a soon-to-be-new law in Mississippi is aimed at shutting down abortions --

The Associated Press: New Law Targets Lone Abortion Clinic In Miss.
Mississippi's abortion laws, already among the strictest in the nation, are poised to become even tighter after a push by social conservatives to shut down the state's only clinic providing the procedure. ... A bill passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and awaiting the signature of GOP Gov. Phil Bryant requires anyone performing abortions in a clinic to be a certified OB-GYN with admitting privileges at a local hospital. Those privileges aren't easy for doctors to get, either because they live out of state or because some religious-affiliated hospitals might be unwilling to associate themselves with people who perform elective abortions (Pettus and Tillman, 4/12).

Earlier, related KHN story: Mississippi Legislature Passes Abortion Clinic Bill (Hess, 4/4).

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