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Abortion news

For the year 2013

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Background information on many aspects of abortion is found in individual essays, e.g. public opinion, clinic protests, clinic violence, parental notification, abortion methods, and post abortion syndrome. Information about the use of stem cells is elsewhere.

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News items:

  • 2013-JAN-14: MA: Pro-choice advocates visit State House: Over 220 women's health advocates met with state legislators to promote bills file during the previous week. Keynote speaker, Dr. Paula Johnson commented;

    "The 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade is a time to celebrate and to renew our commitment to women’s health and reproductive choice. In the years since Roe, this country has seen major advances in women’s health and equality. But we have also seen significant erosions to the rights guaranteed by Roe, erosions that impact individual and public health."

    Megan Amundson, Executive Director for NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, said:

    "“Forty years after Roe v. Wade, women’s access to health care and abortion services is under unprecedented attack nationally and by state governments across the country. Even here in Massachusetts, we are battling legislation that would take away women’s access to basic health care. It was important for legislators to hear from their constituents today about how medical decisions should be made by women in consultation with their doctors, not [by] legislators." 1

Among their priorities is a bill to set requirements for comprehensive sexuality education curriculums and another to increase young women's options for pregnancy counseling.

  • 2013-JAN-17: CA: Center for Reproductive Rights opens: The Berkeley School of Law at the University of California today announced the formal launch of its new Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice (CRRJ). 2,3 Their acronym is "CRRJ" pronounced "courage." The Center is "the nation’s first multidisciplinary research center dedicated to issues of reproduction and designed to support policy solutions by connecting people and ideas across the academic-advocate divide."

  • 2013-JAN-22: 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade: This is the 40th anniversary of the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that women had an absolute right to an abortion on request during her first trimester of pregnancy, with limited access afterwards.

  • 2013-MAR-06: Arkansas' anti-abortion bill becomes law: Apparently based on their belief that human personhood begins when the embryo's heart can be detected, Republican lawmakers passed a bill vetoing abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy -- a little under 3 months. Governor Mike Beebe (D) vetoed the bill. He said:

    "In short, because it would impose a ban on a woman's right to choose an elective, nontherapeutic abortion well before viability, Senate Bill 134 blatantly contradicts the United States Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court. When I was sworn in as governor I took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend both the Arkansas Constitution and the Constitution of the United States. I take that oath seriously."

    However, a sufficient majority of state representatives in the Republican controlled House were willing to violate their own oath of office and voted to override the veto with a vote of 56 to 33. In Arkansas, only a simple majority is required to override a governor's veto.

Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), responded:

    "The Arkansas legislature has the shameful distinction of passing the worst impediment to women’s reproductive health in decades. The decision to have an abortion is a complex and deeply personal one that must be made by a woman, her family, and her doctor -- not politicians. The ACLU will challenge this dangerous and unconstitutional law in court to put this private decision back in the hands of a woman and her family." 4

  • 2013-MAR-26: North Dakota's Governor approved three anti-abortion laws: The ND Legislature passed three anti-abortion laws and Governor Jack Dairymple (R) signed them into law. Of the three laws:
    • One prohibits a woman from having an abortion if the embryo's heartbeat can be detected. This happens as early as 6 weeks gestation.

    • Another would ban abortion sought because the fetus has Down syndrome or a similar genetic defect. More than 90% of couples in the U.S. decide to seek an abortion if the fetus is determined to have such a defect. This law would force the woman to give birth against her will or to travel outside the state in order to have an abortion.

    • A third bill requires doctors performing abortions to have hospital-admitting privileges. This is a type of bill pioneered by the state of Mississippi in an attempt to close their last clinic that performs abortions.

A fourth bill has been approved by the Legislature that would ban abortions after 20 weeks gestation based on the belief that a fetus of that age can feel pain. This belief is shared by very few if any medical specialists.

A main goal of the legislation is to close the Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo, ND which is the state's only location performing abortions.

The governor urged the Legislature to set aside money to pay for the cost of the inevitable legal challenges. The governor and Republican-dominated legislature do not expect the law to be implemented anytime soon. A court injunction will probably be implemented almost immediately. The laws are attempts to provoke a lawsuit that will eventually land up in the U.S. Supreme Court where they wll test the boundaries of the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. The latter lawsuit legalized abortion with limited restrictions as long as the embryo or fetus is not viable; this is usually considered to be at 22 to 24 weeks gestation.

Dairymple issued a statement saying:

"Although the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question, this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade."

The New York based Center for Reproductive Rights is committed to challenging the fetal heartbeat bill on behalf of the clinic. 5

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Advocates Mark 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade at Massachusetts State House," Planned Parenthood press release, 2012-JAN at: http://roslindale.patch.com/
  2. "Berkeley Law launches Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice, Berkeley Law, 2013-JAN-17, at: http://www.law.berkeley.edu/14792.htm
  3. "Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice," Berkeley Law, undated, at: http://www.law.berkeley.edu/
  4. Laura Bassett, "Arkansas 12-Week Abortion Ban Becomes Law, Huffington Post, 2013-MAR-06, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
  5. James MacPherson, "North Dakota Abortion Ban Signed By Governor Jack Dalrymple," Huffington Post, 2013-MAR-26, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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Site navigation: Home page > Hot topics > Abortion > Abortion news > here

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Copyright © 2013 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Created: 2012-JAN-18
Latest update: 2013-MAR-31
Author: B.A. Robinson

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