Hot News Stories (7/24/14)

House Chronicle (Austin, TX)
Following the implementation of HB2, Texas’ controversial anti-choice law, rates of safe, legal first trimester and drug-induced abortions have decreased, while late-term abortion rates have increased. The bill continues to eliminate access to women’s reproductive healthcare.

Mass Live (Boston, MA)
The Massachusetts House approved a ‘dispersal zone’ bill on Wednesday to tighten security around family planning clinics. There will be a final vote in both chambers before the bill heads to the Governor for his signature.

Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI)
Gov. Scott Walker’s administration said it won’t enforce the state’s contraception coverage law on Wednesday because of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, but birth control advocates say the state law isn’t affected by the decision.


Massachusetts to Protect Patients from Anti-Choice Harassment

Update 7/24/14: The Massachusetts House approved the ‘dispersal zone’ bill on a 116-35 vote. There will be a final vote in both chambers before the bill heads to the Governor for his signature.

In a unanimous decision earlier this summer, the Supreme Court made a narrow ruling that a 2007 Massachusetts law creating a buffer zone of at least 35 feet around family planning clinics that provide abortions violated the First Amendment. Chief Justice Roberts, however, joined the four liberal justices and suggested the state should attempt to increase patient safety through smaller buffer zones or by law enforcement using less intrusive tools.

A new ‘dispersal zone’ bill spurred by the Supreme Court’s decision and created with those suggestions in mind gives police the power to order a group of two or more family planning clinic protesters who “substantially impede” access to a facility to disperse and stay at least 25 feet from the clinic entrance for up to eight hours. The 25-foot boundary following the dispersal would have to be clearly marked and the regulations must be posted outside the clinic. The bill also prohibits protesters from using threats or intentionally injuring and intimidating anyone trying to enter a clinic. The attorney general can also bring a civil action against violators and seek relief and damages.

The Massachusetts Senate approved the bill by voice vote with bi-partisan support last Wednesday only a few hours after a full Senate hearing. The Massachusetts House is scheduled to debate the bill on Wednesday. Gov. Deval Patrick has expressed support for the bill and it is expected to pass the House.


Hot News Stories (7/23/14)

Valley News (Concord, NH)
A law allowing abortion clinics to create buffer zones of up to 25 feet is different from a Massachusetts law that was struck down last month by the U.S. Supreme Court and will survive a court challenge, New Hampshire’s attorney general said in legal filings.

ABC News Local (Boston, MA)
The Massachusetts House is planning to debate a bill designed to protect patients at reproductive health clinics. The bill would let police disperse groups substantially impeding access to family planning clinics that offer abortion services. and those individuals would then have to stay at least 25 feet from the clinic’s entrances for up to eight hours.

Washington Post (Washington, DC)
The Obama administration said Tuesday that it is coming up with a work-around to ensure that employees of certain charities, hospitals and colleges whose leaders have religious objections to contraceptives can still get birth control through their employee health insurance plans.


Hot News Stories (7/22/14)

NY1 Local News (Albany, NY)
State and city Departments of Health in New York are looking to help prevent the health and financial risks associated with rapid repeat pregnancies by providing reimbursements for IUDs or contraceptive implants provided immediately after childbirth.

ABC Local News (Denver, CO)
Opponents of a proposed personhood amendment in Colorado launched their campaign Tuesday. The change to criminal code could curb abortion rights and prohibit infertility treatments, as well as some forms of birth control.

Businessweek (Phoenix, AZ)
Arizona is seeking to postpone a ruling that blocked its dangerous restrictions on drug-induced abortions, while it appeals to the Supreme Court.


Hot News Stories (7/21/14)

Associated Press (Boise, ID) 
A three-judge panel heard arguments on Friday that a federal judge’s ruling striking down Idaho’s unconstitutional 20-week ban should be reversed because criminal charges against the filer had been dismissed. Idaho was one of seven states to adopt a 20-week abortion ban in 2011, citing medically inaccurate information about fetal-pain.

The Tennessean (Nashville, TN)
As family planning clinics close in Alabama due to big government overreach, women are forced to make two separate costly 300-mile trips to family planning clinics to comply with the mandatory 48-hour waiting period.

Santa Barbara Independent (Santa Barbara, CA)
Anti-choice protesters plan to sue the City of Santa Barbara for its “bubble ordinance”, an 8 foot buffer zone which was approved by a federal appeals court as early as 1999. The city attorney is confident the bubble ordinance will withstand legal attack.


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