KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Federal Judge In Texas Halts Enforcement Of Abortion Law

The Texas case involves a new law that requires expectant mothers to see a sonogram of the fetus and hear the heartbeat. Meanwhile, Kansas, Virginia and Mississippi are also dealing with abortion issues.

Dallas Morning News: Federal Judge Halts Enforcement Of Texas' Abortion Sonogram Law
A federal court invalidated most of the state's new abortion sonogram law Tuesday, deeming it unconstitutional to force doctors to tell patients details that aren't medically relevant and that they don't wish to hear. ... State officials immediately indicated that they would appeal the decision. ... Under the new law, doctors preparing to perform an abortion were required to conduct a sonogram, show the result to the pregnant woman and make the fetal heartbeat audible before performing an abortion (Hoppe, 8/30).

Houston Chronicle: Judge Stays Sonogram Law
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks said late Tuesday that the law, which was to take effect Thursday, violates the free speech rights of doctors and patients. He ordered that the state cannot impose penalties against doctors who don't fulfill its requirements. "The Act's onerous requirements will surely dissuade or prevent many competent doctors from performing abortions, making it significantly more difficult for pregnant women to obtain abortions," wrote Sparks, granting the temporary injunction (Ackerman, 8/30).

The Texas Tribune: Judge Rules Abortion Sonogram Law Can't Take Effect Yet
Oklahoma is the only other state in the country where a sonogram is required before an abortion. However, that same law is also facing a legal battle (Wiseman and Tan, 8/30).

The Texas Tribune: Perry's Anti-Abortion Stance Has Grown More Insistent
In the nearly 11 years since Perry became governor, he has thrown his support behind at least six high-profile anti-abortion bills. ... Over the years, Perry's public opposition to abortion has grown ever-more emphatic, coinciding with runs for re-election in an increasingly red Texas. ... He opposes abortion except in cases of rape or incest, or when the mother's life is in danger (Ramshaw, 8/31).

The Washington Post: McDonnell: Draft Abortion Regulations Are In 'Interest Of Health'
Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said he has not read the draft regulations for abortion clinics, released late Friday, but that the intent of the proposal is to look after women's health, not to close the facilities. "It's in the interest of health," McDonnell said on his monthly call-in show on WTOP radio in Washington (Kumar, 8/30).

ABC: Virginia Legislation May Shut Down Abortion Providers
New state board of health regulations issued last Friday lay the groundwork for stricter regulation of abortion providers in Virginia — a shift in policy that abortion rights advocates feel unjustly targets women's clinics with the intent of limiting women's access to abortions. The new rules are the product of a law passed this winter that reclassified abortion clinics as hospital facilities (Hutchinson, 8/31).

Stateline: Mississippi To Put Abortion In Election Spotlight
Mississippi is among just a handful of states to hold elections this year, and among the items on its ballot will be one that defines "person" to include every human being from the moment of fertilization. If approved, supporters say the measure would criminalize all abortion, including those applying to cases of rape or incest (Prah, 8/31).

The Associated Press/Houston Chronicle: Kan. Ordered To Resume Funding Planned Parenthood
A federal judge ordered Kansas to immediately resume funding a Planned Parenthood chapter on the same quarterly schedule that existed before a new state law stripped it of all federal funding for non-abortion services. U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten on Tuesday rejected the state's request that it pay Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri monthly and only for services provided. ... Planned Parenthood has sued to block a provision of the state budget preventing the organization from receiving any of the state's share of federal family planning dollars (Hegeman, 8/30).

McClatchy/The Kansas City Star: Planned Parenthood Funds In Kansas Restored By Federal Judge
A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Kansas to restore federal family planning funds to Planned Parenthood as the case is appealed. U.S. District Judge Thomas Marten ruled that the funding should be provided to Planned Parenthood on a quarterly basis, not the monthly allocation sought by the state. Planned Parenthood had threatened to close its Hays, Kan., clinic on Friday unless it learned by then that its federal family planning funds would start flowing again (Cooper, 8/31).

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