KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Minn. Senate Takes On Anti-Abortion Bills; ‘Personhood’ Initiatives Advance

Across the nation, state legislatures are considering various bills to restrict access to abortion and contraception services.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Two Anti-Abortion Bills Pass Senate Committee
Two bills back by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, the state's largest anti-abortion organization, passed a divided Senate committee on Monday. The bills passed by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee would: Require a new license and inspections for any "clinic, health center or other facility" that performs ten or more abortions per month. Require a doctor's presence when an abortion-inducing drug such as RU-486 is administered, and would prohibit the physician from participating via video conference (2/27).

Minnesota Public Radio: Two Bills Regulating Abortion Advance In Senate 
One bill that could restrict the use of an abortion pill was approved by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill prohibits doctors from monitoring via videoconference women on the early term abortion pill RU-486 (Dunbar, 2/27). 

(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: Two Bills Increase Abortion Regulation
Medical experts testified in support of using "telemedicine" and in support of the medication. ... But supporters of the bill said the medication was dangerous and should be administered cautiously. ... In 2010, medication abortions accounted for 2,378 of the 11,550 abortions in the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Health (Snowbeck, 2/27).

The Texas Tribune: Interactive: Mapping the Women's Health Program Providers
The Texas Women's Health Program (WHP) is in serious jeopardy and likely to end after Mar. 14. The Legislature has indicated it would prefer to end the 5-year-old program rather than allow Planned Parenthood to be part of it, because the organization offers abortions at some of its Texas locations — though none that receive taxpayer dollars. ... Out of nearly 130,000 WHP clients statewide, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission reports that nearly 44 percent receive services at a Planned Parenthood clinic (Aaronson and Tan, 2/28).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Committee Advances 'Fetal Pain' Abortion Bill In Georgia
A judiciary committee in the state House approved a bill Monday that would cut the amount of time women have to get elective abortions from 26 weeks to 20 weeks (Quinn, 2/27).

Politico Pro: 'Personhood' Movement Gains Steam
In at least seven states, activists are trying to place initiatives on the November ballot that would extend legal rights to the moment of conception. Among them are swing states including Florida, Ohio and Nevada, where the initiatives could add an unpredictable element to an election year that in recent weeks has focused increasingly on reproductive politics (Feder, 2/28).

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