KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Texas House Lawmakers Give Initial Approval To Abortion Restrictions

Following a dramatic, last-minute Democratic filibuster late last week, Texas House lawmakers in a special session Tuesday tentatively approved controversial abortion restrictions after more contentious debate.

The New York Times: Texas Resumes Efforts At Abortion Restrictions
The restrictive abortion bill that has stirred up Texas politics in the past few weeks is once again moving its way through the Legislature during a second special session called by Gov. Rick Perry. The bill was initially stalled last month by the 11-hour filibuster of State Senator Wendy Davis, Democrat of Fort Worth. A new version was drafted, restarting the process in the Republican-controlled Texas House with a hearing on Monday and an often-angry debate on the floor on Tuesday (Schwartz, 7/9).

Texas Tribune: House Gives Early OK To Abortion Restrictions
After more than 10 hours of debate, the House voted 98-49 to tentatively approve the abortion regulations in House Bill 2, which would ban abortions at 20 weeks and add regulations to abortion providers and facilities that opponents argue would effectively eliminate access to abortion in Texas. The House must approve the bill again on another calendar day before it will be sent to the Senate (Aaronson, 7/9).

Dallas Morning News: Texas House Tentatively Approves Sweeping Abortion Restrictions
Tentative approval of the bill came just over a week after Gov. Rick Perry convened the current special session on abortion, and it left Democrats with few options to derail the measure as the House prepares to send it to a receptive, GOP-controlled Senate (Stutz, 7/9).

Fox News: Texas House Provisionally Approves Tough Abortion Restrictions
Democrats and women's rights supporters have protested the bill for weeks, but Republican leaders are intent on passing it quickly. Supporters say the bill will offer women more protection when they seek abortions, but critics say conservatives are trying to make the procedure harder to get (7/9).

The Associated Press/ABC News: Texas Abortion Bill Clears Hurdle
Activists on both sides of the issue from across the state and nation descended on the Capitol building, and the demonstrators erupted into screams, cheers and chants immediately following the vote (Tomlinson, 7/10). 

In North Carolina, a new abortion fight takes stage over legislation that would restrict where and when abortions are available --

The Wall Street Journal: Abortion Fight Flares In North Carolina 
North Carolina is considering new laws that would restrict the circumstances and types of places in which a woman could obtain an abortion, drawing protests and illustrating the recent rightward shift of a generally centrist state. The GOP-led state Senate approved a proposal just before the July Fourth weekend that the state health department said could close some of North Carolina's two dozen abortion clinics and require a doctor's presence for hours after a woman takes pills to induce an abortion (Bauerlein, 7/9).

North Carolina Health News: Tighter Abortion Clinic Standards Questioned During House Committee Meeting
As lawmakers debate putting restrictions on clinics that provide abortions across North Carolina, opponents caution that abortion providers in other states have found that when new regulations come into effect, the devil is in the details (Hoban, 7/10).

Similar fights rage across the nation --

CBS News: As More States Restrict Abortions, Fights Rage On (Video)
According to research released this week by the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights, state legislatures this year have passed 43 measures that restrict access to abortion -- the second-highest number ever at the midyear mark (Condon, 7/10).

The Washington Post: Fairfax City Council Votes To Require Abortion Clinics To Get Special Permit, Council Approval 
The Fairfax City council voted Tuesday night to create a new term in its zoning law, "medical care facility," delete the term "clinic" from the current definition of a doctor's office, and require all medical care facilities to obtain a special use permit at a cost of $4,800, along with a detailed approval process and a final vote by the city council. Pro-choice activists said the move was aimed at keeping abortion clinics out of Fairfax City, including an existing clinic in the city which was trying to relocate to meet Virginia's new hospital-style zoning standards for abortion clinics (Jackman, 7/9).

And new research could affect the debate --

Los Angeles Times: Abortion And Preterm Births Studied
In a finding likely to reignite debate over proposed new limits on abortion, British researchers have found that years ago, women who terminated a pregnancy increased their risk of giving birth prematurely in subsequent pregnancies, but that with modern procedures the danger has all but vanished. The researchers suggest the shift is the result of a growing use of oral medication to induce or aid in abortion, and a decline in surgical abortions that may injure a woman's cervix (Healy, 7/9).

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