KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

States Consider Their Own Legislation Limiting Contraception Coverage, Abortion

Lawmakers in Mississippi, Arizona, Georgia, Texas and Florida are considering bills to limit contraception coverage or abortion.

Kaiser Health News: State GOP Pushes For 'Abortion-Free' Mississippi
The 2012 Mississippi legislature is considering nearly two dozen bills and constitutional amendments all aimed at limiting abortion in a state that already has one of the lowest abortion rates in the country and just one abortion clinic (Hess, 3/1).

Arizona Republic: Arizona Senate To Mull Birth Control
The national battle over contraception health care coverage has come to Arizona. Religious-rights groups are pushing state legislation that would allow any employer to refuse to provide health-insurance coverage of birth control for religious reasons. On Thursday, House Bill 2625 passed the Arizona House — the same day a similar bill failed in the U.S. Senate. The Arizona bill now goes to the Senate for consideration (Rau, 3/1).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Ga. Abortion Bill Adds To National Debate
In a year when the dominant issues were expected to be jobs and the economy, social and moral issues — namely, abortion and birth control — have reasserted themselves in the Legislature and on the presidential campaign trail. A recent burst of activity in Georgia reflects the national chatter on those issues. … The debates have motivated women on both sides to speak out (Quinn and Poole, 3/2).

The Texas Tribune: Suehs: Feds' Stand On Women's Health Sets Bad Precedent
In an uncharacteristically angry letter sent to Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus, Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Tom Suehs argues that if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services won't let Texas exclude Planned Parenthood from the Women's Health Program, "then no state can ever confidently apply policies and requirements that advance important and legitimate state interests to regulate providers' participation in Medicaid" (Ramshaw, 3/1). 

Kaiser Health News: Texas Women's Health Fund In Jeopardy Over Abortion Politics 
Texas is in a stand-off with the federal government over a program that provides contraception and reproductive check-ups for low-income Texas women. A new Texas rule would exclude Planned Parenthood clinics from participating, even though the program has nothing to do with abortion (Feibel, 3/2).

The Texas Tribune: Rick Perry Blasts Obama Over Women's Health Program
Gov. Rick Perry joined the rising commotion on Thursday over the expected demise of the Texas' Women's Health Program, firing off an editorial accusing the Obama administration of putting abortion politics over health care. It's the same charge that abortion rights activists have made against Republican Texas lawmakers, who banned Planned Parenthood clinics from participating in the program, a move the feds have said prevents them from renewing it (Ramshaw, 3/1). 

The Miami Herald: Anti-Abortion Measure Passes House, Prospects In Senate Uncertain
Women seeking an abortion would first have to wait 24 hours and new clinics would be physician-owned as part of a sweeping anti-abortion measure passed by the House on Thursday. Passage of HB 277 was unsurprising in the conservative-dominated House, though a handful of lawmakers from both sides broke party lines in the 78-33 vote. … The proposal faces a steep hurdle in the Senate, where its companion (SB 290) is stuck in committees and is not scheduled to be considered again. Senate leaders can still revive the bill, but Senate President Mike Haridopolos sounded lukewarm to the idea when asked by reporters (Sanders, 3/1).

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