Neb., Ohio And Minn. State Legislatures Tackle Abortion, Contraception Restrictions

In various states, lawmakers are concentrating on abortion or contraception bills. Meanwhile, some Texas chapters of Planned Parenthood are merging.

The Associated Press: Nebraska Lawmakers Override Prenatal Care Veto
Nebraska lawmakers have voted to restore taxpayer-funded prenatal care benefits for illegal immigrants, despite the objections of Gov. Dave Heineman. ... Heineman argued the state should not spend tax dollars to provide care to women who are in the country illegally (4/18).

The Associated Press/USA Today: Dems Blast Effort To Cut Planned Parenthood Money 
Ohio Democrats on Wednesday blasted a proposal intended to cut federal funding to dozens of Planned Parenthood centers in the state, arguing it's a sneak assault against women's health that's being undertaken by other state governments around the country. ... The proposal was introduced Tuesday by House Republicans as one of dozens of amendments to a budget bill by Republican Gov. John Kasich that would make a number of spending and policy changes outside of Ohio's normal two-year budget cycle (Rodriguez, 4/18).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Legislature Wades Into Abortion Fray
If a woman is going to take an abortion pill, she should do it under the eyes of her doctor, the Minnesota House decided on Wednesday. But legislators rejected an amendment -- offered by a woman -- that would have required a physician's presence every time a man pops a Viagra. Framed by some Republicans as common-sense discussions about women's health and by some DFLers as a Minnesota skirmish in a wider effort to restrict women's rights, Wednesday's debates in the House and Senate brought the national debate home (Brooks, 4/18).

(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: Minnesota Legislature Votes To Toughen Regulations On Abortions
The bill that would prohibit so-called "webcam abortions" was approved by the House on a 80-48 vote Wednesday, April 18. It takes aim at a videoconferencing program started last year by Planned Parenthood to give patients in parts of southern Minnesota easier access to medication abortions. … On Tuesday, the Minnesota Senate also approved a bill that would require yearly inspections of clinics performing 10 or more abortions a month (Boldt, 4/18).

The Texas Tribune: Planned Parenthood Branches Vote to Merge
The boards of three regional Planned Parenthood branches -- North Texas, Central Texas and the Capital Region -- have voted to merge, forming a $29 million-per-year mega-organization with 26 clinics up and down the Interstate 35 corridor. ... "The timing is right, in terms of looking ahead at the challenges we will face politically, and from a health care standpoint," said Leslie MacLean, board chairwoman of Planned Parenthood of North Texas (Ramshaw, 4/18).

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