KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Texas Abortion Bill Sent To Full Chamber

A Texas House committee approved sweeping abortion legislation early Wednesday, setting up a new fight on the proposal that would, along with other restrictions, ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The full chamber will take up the proposal early next week.

Dallas Morning News: House Panel Approves Abortion Measure
Democrats and Republicans sparred over far-reaching legislation to restrict abortions in Texas as a GOP-dominated House committee approved the bill early Wednesday and sent it to the full chamber to take up early next week. After hearing testimony from some of the 2,300 who had signed up to testify on the bill, the House State Affairs Committee approved the measure 8-3, with two absences. It was the first public hearing on the abortion bill in the current special session, which began Monday and was called after a Democratic filibuster killed an identical measure during another special session in June (Stutz, 7/2).

Texas Tribune: Interactive: How Texas' Proposed Abortion Restrictions Stack Up
House Bill 2 and Senate Bill 1 -- the omnibus abortion legislation filed in the second special legislative session -- have been labeled as among the strictest abortion regulations in the country. The bills would ban abortion starting 20 weeks after fertilization, under a provision stating that Texas has a compelling interest in protecting fetuses from pain; require doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility; force doctors to administer the abortion-inducing drug RU-486 in person, rather than allowing the woman to take it at home; and require abortions -- even drug-induced ones -- to be performed in ambulatory surgical centers (Aaronson, Murphy and Luthra, 7/3).

Politico: Texas Abortion Bill: Committee Approves
It was the first action on the bill since the Legislature returned to the Texas capitol for a special session starting on Monday. The full chamber will now take up the bill next week (Glueck, 7/3).

Bloomberg: Texas Lawmakers Start Over On Abortion After Filibuster
Texas lawmakers took up abortion limits again yesterday, hearing hours of testimony before voting to send a measure that Democrats blocked last week back to the state House of Representatives for renewed consideration. The State Affairs committee voted 8-3 with two abstentions to move the measure to the House floor as soon as next week after throngs of onlookers for and against the bill rallied in the Statehouse around the chamber, in halls and corridors and on the grounds outside (Deprez and Mildenberg, 7/3).

Politico: GOP Sits Out Texas Abortion Fight
The liberal side of the Texas abortion showdown has the two most powerful Democrats in Washington squarely in its corner: Barack Obama and Harry Reid — not to mention a Dixie Chick. On the right: Rick Perry’s holding down the fort without much obvious help from national Republicans. ... Republicans will talk about the abortion bill when they’re asked about it, but they aren't swooping into the fight with the same enthusiasm as liberals (Nather, 7/2).

Abortion legislation in Arizona and North Carolina also makes news --

Arizona Republic: 3 Seeking To Defend Ban On Abortions
A Republican state lawmaker, a national Christian minority organization and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery want to join in the defense of a state law restricting abortions. Civil-rights groups in May filed a lawsuit challenging a 2011 law that makes it a felony to perform an abortion if the provider knows it is sought based on the fetus' sex or race, or a woman is being coerced to have an abortion based on the fetus' sex or race. The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Maricopa County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (Rau, 7/2).

North Carolina Health News: Senate Gives Tentative Approval To Broad Abortion Limitations
Not a week after a Texas senator made national headlines for filibustering a bill that would put considerable restrictions on access to abortion in that state, North Carolina senators introduced a bill that would enact many of the same provisions as the Texas statute (Hoban, 7/3).

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