Abortion, Contraception Legislative Battles Escalate In States

All across the country, state legislatures and governors are grappling with bills designed to limit access to abortion or contraception. In Virginia, it's affecting a U.S. Senate race.

Bloomberg: Contraception Fight Shapes Virginia Race For U.S. Senate
Former U.S. Senator George Allen, a Virginia Republican who is running to return to the chamber, backs the "personhood" measure and would like to make it federal law. ... The race between Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine is among the most watched in the country, pitting two former Virginia governors in a contest for an open seat with majority control of the U.S. Senate at stake. Democrats see proposals to curb reproductive rights as a way to drive female independent voters back to the party in the November election (Przybyla, 3/20).

Reuters: Utah Governor Signs Law Mandating 72-Hour Wait For Abortion
Utah's Republican governor signed a law extending a required waiting period for women seeking an abortion to 72 hours on Tuesday, even though a similar requirement in South Dakota has been blocked in court, a spokeswoman said. ... The state currently requires a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion (Dobuzinskis, 3/20).

The Associated Press: Idaho Lawmaker Sparks Anger With Abortion Comments
A Republican Idaho lawmaker's suggestion on the Senate floor that a doctor should ask a woman who says she was raped if the pregnancy could have been "caused by normal relations in a marriage" brought a rebuke from another legislator who said it's insensitive and suggests women may lie to get an abortion. Sen. Chuck Winder of Boise, the Senate assistant majority leader, was speaking during closing testimony on a bill to require a woman to get an ultrasound before an abortion, when he addressed foes of the legislation who said it provided no exemptions for medical emergencies -- or in cases of rape or incest (Miller, 3/20).

The Associated Press/(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: Medical Group Asks Walker To Veto Wisconsin Abortion Bill
Wisconsin's largest medical association asked Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday, March 20, to veto a bill that would add new requirements for doctors to ensure a woman isn't forced into an abortion. Walker's office said the governor is evaluating the bill.  The Wisconsin Medical Society's letter said the bill passed by the Republican-controlled state Legislature this month would infringe on the physician-patient relationship (Rodriguez, 3/20).

Arizona Republic: Arizona Lawmaker Wants To Go Further On Abortion Laws
Arizona has become the national epicenter in recent weeks in the battle over abortion and contraception regulations. ... at least one lawmaker doesn't believe Arizona has yet gone far enough. ... The e-mail [from Rep. Terri Proud], which has not been edited, said: "Personally I'd like to make a law that mandates a woman watch an abortion being performed prior to having a 'surgical procedure'" (Rau, 3/20). 

The Associated Press/The Seattle Times: Lawmakers Vow to Push Abortion Insurance Bill
Democratic lawmakers said Tuesday that they will try to pass a bill during the current special session requiring insurers who cover maternity care -- which Washington insurers are mandated to provide -- to also pay for abortions. The measure passed out of the House during the legislative session that ended March 8 but failed in the Senate after a dramatic attempt to bring it to the floor during a Republican budget coup (Kaminsky, 3/20).

The Dallas Morning News: Women Get Into Perry's Facebook
Rick Perry's presidential campaign Facebook page ... has been inundated by angry women who are making pointed comments regarding his efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. A woman who identifies herself as a gynecologist is referring questions to him, since (I am sure this is sarcastic) he knows more about reproductive health than she does (Hoppe, 3/20).

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