KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Lawmkers Consider Abortion, Contraception Legislation

A bill in Arizona would allow employers to deny contraception coverage on religious grounds, and a Tenn. bill would require the state publish the names of doctors who perform abortions.

Arizona Republic: Sponsor Working To Amend Birth-Control Bill
The sponsor of a bill that would allow employers to deny contraceptive coverage on religious grounds said she is working on amendments to clarify the measure. Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, said her bill has been widely misunderstood and misinterpreted, particularly an exception that would allow female employees to still be covered if they need the contraceptives for health reasons, such as controlling endometriosis. Lesko said critics have wrongly read House Bill 2625 as requiring the employee to disclose her medical condition to her employer in order to continue coverage (Pitzl, 3/19).

McClatchy: Tennessee Abortion Bill Would Require Publishing Names Of Doctors
The latest salvo in the abortion wars comes in the form of a bill in the Tennessee Legislature that would result in the online publication of the names of doctors who perform abortions, and -- according to critics of the measure -- potentially out individual women who undergo the controversial procedure. The Life Defense Act of 2012 ... would direct the state Health Department to post on its website a report on every abortion (Fausset, 3/19).

Fallout from abortion-related issues continues, in the meantime, in Texas and Missouri --

The Texas Tribune: Inside Intelligence: Retirement and Planned Parenthood
This week in our nonscientific survey, we asked our insiders about Planned Parenthood, lawmakers collecting retirement and term limits. ... The debate over the end of the Women's Health Program in Texas because of the state's refusal to allow Planned Parenthood to participate, has kept the organization in the spotlight. Will the issue play at the ballot box? Nearly two-thirds of insiders who responded this week said yes (Grissom, 3/19). 

Kansas City Star: Anti-Abortion Centers Draw Renewed Look In Jeff City
Millions of dollars in state funds and tax credits have been doled out in recent years to assist mostly faith-based nonprofits in their efforts to reduce the number of abortions performed in Missouri. Critics complain, however, that much of the money ends up benefiting what are called pregnancy resource centers, which they contend often pose as medical clinics while providing inaccurate information designed to scare women away from having an abortion. Now lawmakers are wrestling with the sensitive issue once again (Hancock, 3/20).

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