KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Texas Governor Calls For Late-Term Abortion Ban

Citing what he called fetal pain, former GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry urged state lawmakers to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. He said his ultimate goal was to eliminate abortions altogether.

Reuters: Texas Governor Seeks Law Banning Late-Term Abortions
Texas Governor Rick Perry called on state lawmakers on Tuesday to pass a bill banning late-term abortions, a controversial prohibition that has been pushed by anti-abortion activists since 2010. Seven states -- Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska and Oklahoma -- have put laws into effect in the past several years banning late term abortions, based on questionable medical research suggesting that a fetus feels pain starting at 20 weeks of gestation (MacLaggan, 12/11).

Houston Chronicle: Perry Wants To Further Restrict Abortions And Providers
Proclaiming his ultimate goal to eliminate abortion at any stage, Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday said he would back legislation to ban abortion in Texas after 20 weeks, the point at which he said a fetus can experience pain. He said he also wants lawmakers in the upcoming legislative session to pass a law requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges with nearby hospitals, and he wants abortion clinics to be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers. "Over the last decade, Texas has taken extraordinary steps to protect the lives of the unborn, but when 80,000 lives are lost to abortion each year in our state, we know our work is far from over," Perry said, speaking at the Source Pregnancy Center in west Houston (Holley, 12/11).

The Dallas Morning News: Perry Backs New Proposed Abortion Restrictions
Gov. Rick Perry, who has led the charge against abortions, said he will push for new restrictions when the Legislature convenes next month, including one that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy. Perry cited laws passed in 10 other states that settled on the 20-week cutoff as the point in development when a fetus might feel pain. Previously, based on the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision, elective abortions could be performed up to the time when the fetus was viable – about 28 weeks (Hoppe, 12/11).

In the meantime, Planned Parenthood continues its fight against Texas to remain included in the Women's Health Program there --

The Dallas Morning News: Planned Parenthood Files Two New Lawsuits Against Texas
It’s back to the courts for Planned Parenthood. A Texas Planned Parenthood patient, Marcela “Marcy” Balquinta, filed suit against the state on Tuesday to ensure the provider is not left out of the women’s health program when the state takes it over on Jan. 1. Attorneys for Balquinta and Planned Parenthood, which is involved in the suit, claim Health and Human Services executive director Kyle Janek and the Texas Department of State Health Services do not have the authority to exclude Planned Parenthood from the program (Cardona, 12/11).

And a Mississippi abortion clinic also fights to stay open amid a new law there --

The Wall Street Journal: Abortion Clinic Presses To Stay Open
Mississippi's only abortion clinic says it won't be able to meet a requirement of a new state law that tightens regulations for abortion providers, and has asked a federal judge to prevent state officials from revoking its license (McWhirter, 12/11).

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