Arizona legislators gave final approval to a bill allowing employers to opt out of covering contraception in their health plans while moving one step closer to barring Planned Parenthood from public funding in a separate bill. Debates over contraception and abortion also dominate state capitols in Texas, Nebraska and Minnesota.
Arizona Republic: Arizona House Gives Final OK To Contraception Bill
The Arizona House has given its final OK to a measure to allow certain businesses to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage as part of their health care benefits. Supporters of House Bill 2625 say it has been revised to apply to a limited number of "religiously affiliated" businesses. Opponents say the definition of such businesses has been written so broadly that it would let any employer opt out. The bill still needs a final vote in the Senate and then the approval of Gov. Jan Brewer before it becomes law. The Senate may vote on it next week (Rau, 4/19).
Arizona Republic: Arizona Senate To Vote On Planned Parenthood Funding
The Arizona Senate is scheduled to vote on a bill to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving public funding through the state for non-abortion health services. Senate approval on Thursday would complete legislative action on the bill already approved by the House. Arizona already prohibits using tax dollars for abortions except to save the woman's life. But supporters say the bill is needed to cut off indirect funding for Planned Parenthood (4/19).
The Texas Tribune/New York Times: In Tough Times, Three Planned Parenthood Branches Fight Back By Merging
Texas Planned Parenthood advocates have been outspoken about the hits they have taken from state lawmakers in the last year -- including major cuts to family-planning financing, a new abortion sonogram law and being kicked out of a Medicaid health program for poor women (Ramshaw, 4/19).
Los Angeles Times: Nebraska Approves Prenatal Care For Illegal Immigrants
Nebraska legislators handed the governor a political defeat by overriding his veto of a bill that forced conservatives to choose among conflicting priorities, such as care for the unborn, illegal immigrants and even fiscal austerity. On the final day of the state's legislative session Wednesday, lawmakers in the single-chamber, nonpartisan house overrode the governor's veto of a prenatal health bill for illegal immigrants in a narrow 30-16 vote with three present but not voting (Muskal, 4/19).
MinnPost: What's Really Behind The Abortion Bills In Legislature?
One of the bills would require physicians to be physically present in prescribing use of the pill. A second, an even more restrictive measure, would require a doctor to be present when a woman ingested the pill. Both measures passed 80-48, meaning they had substantial [Democratic] votes. .. Even if the bills don't get past [Gov.] Dayton's veto pen, they surely will be factors in some legislative elections. For example, the newly drawn district maps pair seven-term Republican Rep. Larry Howes of Walker and Rep. John Persell, a two-term DFLer from Bemidji (Grow, 4/19).