Focus 54: A Republican Conference on Women

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Hot News Stories (7/29/14)

Arizona Daily Star (Phoenix, AZ)
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne got permission Monday to ask the Supreme Court to void a federal appellate court ruling blocking the state from limiting the use of medications for drug-induced abortions.

US News (Denver, CO)
“Changes in contraceptive policy simulating the Contraceptive Choice Project would prevent as many as 41% to 71% of abortions performed annually in the United States,” according to a study done at Washington University in St. Louis in 2012. 

WAPT Local News (Jackson, MS)
A court hearing was held Monday in which a judge found two anti-choice protesters guilty of obstructing a public sidewalk during recent protests.

Hot News Stories (7/28/14)

Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is continuing to defend the state’s anti-choice 12-week abortion ban to a federal appeals court, arguing the state has a legitimate interest in barring the procedure at that point in a woman’s pregnancy, even though such a ban violates Supreme Court precedents.

KSN News (Kansas City, KS) 
One of four remaining clinics in Kansas that provide abortions has closed because its doctor and manager have retired. The clinic manager says former patients need to fight for reproductive rights instead of relying on clinic workers to wage that battle.

WRCB News (Nashville, TN)
If the  proposed anti-choice amendment to the Tennessee’s state constitution succeeds in this fall, the state would have “unlimited constitutional authority to pass any regulation or restriction on abortion that they like, including banning abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest.”

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI)
Despite a recent court decision, Wisconsin workers of private businesses that have religious objections to birth control can still obtain contraceptives as part of their health coverage at no cost, a state official said.

Hot News Stories (7/25/14)

The Hill (Washington, DC)
Several studies have confirmed there is no association between abortion and breast cancer and that women who have had abortions are not at greater risk of preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies, but anti-choice lawmakers used overblown and incorrect claims about women’s reproductive health to oppose the Women’s Health Protection Act in a hearing last week.

The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
Anti-choice extremists will file a lawsuit against Governor Bobby Jindal’s administration for access to mandatory reports detailing each abortion performed in Baton Rouge. DHH officials maintain, however, that law specifically forbids disclosure of patient information.

NPR Local (Denver, CO)
This fall Colorado voters will once again decide on a personhood amendment that would ban all abortions, even in the case of rape, incest or the life of the mother, and make some forms of birth control illegal. Voters have already rejected similar measures in two previous ballot measures.

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.


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