Abortion Map Quickly Redrawn; Entire Southeast Enacting Protections For Unborn

Morning Briefing: Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations | THURSDAY, MAY 18 2023, KFF HEALTH NEWS

South Carolina’s legislature passed a six-week ban on abortion. Meanwhile, Illinois moves to lock in its access to abortions. In other news, Donald Trump attempts to take credit for the end of Roe v. Wade (but sidesteps an answer on supporting a six-week ban).

CNN: South Carolina House Passes Six-Week Abortion Ban After Hours Of Contentious Debate

South Carolina House members approved a controversial bill late Wednesday that would ban most abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy, after having spent the last two days in contentious debate on the legislation.

Lawmakers had been called back for a special session this week by Republican Gov. Henry McMaster to continue work on Senate Bill 474, known as the “Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act,” which bans most abortions after early cardiac activity can be detected in a fetus or embryo, which can commonly be detected as early as six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant. (Kashiwagi, 5/17)

AP: Illinois Democrats Say Abortion-Access Protections Are A Promise: ‘You’re Safe Here’

Access to abortion is essentially locked down in Illinois. But Democrats are looking for ways to further protect the practice and its availability, including to outsiders who potentially face home-state penalties for seeking treatment here.

Legislation approved by both houses of the General Assembly include requiring Illinois insurers to cover abortion-inducing drugs, penalizing crisis pregnancy centers if they distribute inaccurate information and requiring colleges to offer reduced-price emergency contraception on campus. (O’Connor, 5/17)

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CNN: The Abortion Access Map Is Being Dramatically Redrawn This Week

The evolving patchwork of access to abortion care is going through big changes this week, with the entire Southeast on the brink of imposing new limits. Bands of states restricting abortion access could soon extend the entire length of the country, depending on legislative action and pending court battles. (Wolf, 5/17)

More abortion news from Michigan, Illinois, and California —

AP: Michigan Protects Workers From Retaliation For Having An Abortion

Michigan companies will be prohibited from firing or otherwise retaliating against workers for receiving an abortion under a bill signed Wednesday by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that amends the state’s civil rights law. Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act had previously only protected individuals against employment discrimination if the abortion was to “save the life of the mother.”

Legislation signed Wednesday will extend those protections to anyone who terminates a pregnancy, regardless of reasoning. (Cappelletti, 5/17)

Fox News: California Officials To Pay $1.4M To Churches After Abortion Mandate Backfires

California officials have agreed to pay $1.4 million in legal fees for churches that pushed back against a state mandate that abortions be covered in health insurance plans.

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Attorneys with the nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) successfully resolved two lawsuits dating back to 2015 and 2016 involving four churches that objected to the abortion-coverage mandate, the nonprofit legal organization announced last week. (Brown, 5/17)

Also —

Modern Healthcare: Emergency Abortions Mired In Legal Questions A Year After Roe Reversal
Almost a year since the landmark Supreme Court ruling that allowed states to ban abortion, confusion and fear reign as clinicians confront the risks of criminal charges amid evolving rules and uneven enforcement of laws that sometimes contradict each other. “We have chaos, and we just have to live with the chaos,” said Harvard Law School professor and former Maine Attorney General James Tierney (D). “Physicians and hospitals are very nervous. They don’t know what to do.” The legal cases that ensue will take years to litigate, and the underlying uncertainty isn’t likely to abate until the high court weighs in again. (Hartnett, 5/17)

The Hill: Trump Boasts He ‘Was Able To Kill Roe V. Wade,’ Takes Credit For State Abortion Bans
Former President Trump on Wednesday took credit for bringing about the end of Roe v. Wade and the restrictive abortion laws that have passed in the year since the Supreme Court struck down the landmark decision. Trump, in a post on Truth Social, said he “was able to kill Roe v. Wade, much to the ‘shock’ of everyone,” and put the anti-abortion movement in a “strong negotiating position.” “Without me there would be no 6 weeks, 10 weeks, 15 weeks, or whatever is finally agreed to,” he wrote. “Without me the pro Life movement would have just kept losing. Thank you President TRUMP!!!” (Samuels, 5/17)

CBS News: Fertility App Premom Shared User Health Data With Third Parties, FTC Says
A free fertility app used to track ovulation shared users’ health information with other companies, including Google and China-based marketing and analytics firms, the Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday in announcing a $200,000 settlement. (Chasan, 5/17)

This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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