South Carolina Republicans Back Down From Abortion Restrictions to Pass Budget
The South Carolina legislature approved a nearly $5 billion state budget yesterday that includes a provision allowing the state health insurance plan to cover abortions in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother's life is in danger. The budget was held up in the state House, but passed on a 64 to 54 vote on the last day of the session after Republicans who had been blocking passage compromised on the abortion language. According to the Statehouse Watch, the Republicans agreed to vote for the budget because of promises that legislative priorities next year will include a bill instituting a 24 hour waiting period for abortions and legislation to end abortion coverage in instances of rape and incest in the state health insurance plan.
Once in the Senate, an initial Senate vote ended in a tie, but the budget was cleared on a 22 to 16 second vote as the legislature narrowly met a 5:00pm mandatory deadline to end their legislative session. Governor Mark Sanford (R) will now consider the budget and potentially issue vetoes
Currently a bill instituting a 24 hour waiting period has been stalled in committee due to disagreements between the House and Senate. While both chambers passed versions of the bill in March, the Associated Press reports that the two disagree on how to calculate the one day waiting period. The House bill begins counting the time when the patient receives an ultrasound, while the Senate proposal allows women to download information about the procedure online and time-stamp it 24 hours before their appointment.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .