When politicians across the country see counterparts getting attention and earning political capital for their heartbeat bills, it can become a matter of “keeping up with the Joneses and jockeying for position,” one expert says. CNN takes a look at the history and failures of these bills. Abortion news comes out of New York, Massachusetts and Louisiana, as well.
Time and again, when it’s introduced in a state legislature, the bill is touted as the most restrictive in the nation. It’s often referred to as a “heartbeat bill” and seeks to ban abortions at the time when a fetus’ heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — before many women even know that they are pregnant. But just as often as they are introduced, these bills get stymied. They are held up in committees, rejected in legislative votes, vetoed by governors and struck down in courts. Not one state has managed to put a heartbeat bill into lasting practice. (Ravitz, 1/26)
On the 46th anniversary of Roe V. Wade, New York state passed a law to protect women’s access to abortion if the historic case is overturned. “Today we are taking a giant step forward in the hard-fought battle to ensure a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her own personal health, including the ability to access an abortion. With the signing of this bill, we are sending a clear message that whatever happens in Washington, women in New York will always have the fundamental right to control their own body,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo after signing New York’s Reproductive Health Act on Tuesday night. (Marco, 1/23)
The same activists who pushed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez into office and helped oust members of the state Senate’s former Independent Democratic Conference have a message for lawmakers: We’re still watching. Leaders of groups like No IDC NY and other progressive community organizations, many energized by the election of Donald Trump, immediately reacted last week when State Sen. Joe Addabbo broke ranks with his Democratic colleagues and voted against the Reproductive Health Act. (Vielkind, 1/27)
A Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges in nearby hospitals was to go into effect Monday (Jan. 28) after a federal appeals court decided this week against reconsidering a decision that upheld the law. On Friday, the 5th Circuit also quickly denied a motion seeking a delay in the effective date. That motion, however, triggered a seven-day delay under court rules. The law is now set to take effect on Feb. 4. (Clark, 1/25)
Reproductive rights advocates in Massachusetts and across the country are launching aggressive campaigns for the new year to bolster access to abortion services in left-leaning states, in anticipation of further restrictions in conservative ones. The effort is part of a nationwide strategy by groups, including Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, and NARAL Pro-Choice, to create safe havens for women seeking abortion services at a time when a newly conservative Supreme Court could overturn the 46-year-old Roe v. Wade ruling that made abortion legal. (Ebbert, 1/28)
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