NEWS: Abortion Bans Fail in South Carolina and Nebraska

| May 4, 2023

Abortion Bans Fail in South Carolina and Nebraska

New York Times, May 1

South Carolina and Nebraska, two conservative states that have been pushing to ban abortion, on Thursday both failed to pass new bills prohibiting the procedure, preserving wide access to abortion in those states and handing surprise victories to abortion rights advocates. In Nebraska, a bill to ban most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy — a strict prohibition that would outlaw the procedure before most women know they are pregnant — failed to advance in the state legislature, making it unlikely to move forward for the remainder of this year’s legislative session. The bill fell one vote short of the 33 needed in order to advance, after two senators did not vote…In South Carolina, the Senate rejected a bill that would ban most abortions in the state. The bill had already been passed by the House, but the Senate’s five women — three of whom are Republicans — opposed the bill and spoke forcefully against it.

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Utah Judge Delays Implementing Statewide Abortion Clinic Ban

PBS News Hour, May 2

A state court on Tuesday blocked Utah’s first-in-the-nation ban on abortion clinics from taking effect Wednesday in a ruling in which the judge called the Republican-controlled Legislature’s objective in enacting the ban “nebulous.” The decision allows the state’s four clinics to continue providing abortions while Judge Andrew Stone takes more time to weigh the merits of a lawsuit filed by the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, which argued the law would “functionally eliminate” abortion access by limiting the procedure to hospitals. It’s the latest development to shape abortion access in Utah in the year after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. It follows an earlier legal challenge to a Utah law banning most non-emergency abortions. That law remains unimplemented, tied up in court.

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Gianforte Signs 5 Anti-Abortion Bills, Plans to Sign More

Missoulian, May 3

Gov. Greg Gianforte signed into law five bills aimed at restricting abortion access in Montana on Wednesday, triggering a legal request from Planned Parenthood of Montana later in the day to block one of the bills…The bills include Senate Bill 154, which attempts to override the Montana Supreme Court’s longstanding recognition of abortion rights in the state. Known as the “Armstrong decision,” it holds that the state Constitution’s right to privacy protects access to abortions in Montana up to the point of viability. Opponents have criticized the proposal as legislative overreach into the courts’ authority to review the constitutionality of legislative acts. A legal review note attached to SB 154 by legislative staff notes that “the bill raises potential conformity issues with the requirements of the Montana Constitution.”

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North Carolina House Approves GOP’s 12-Week Abortion Ban. Here’s What Happens Next.

The News & Observer, May 5

A Republican proposal to ban abortion after 12 weeks in North Carolina cleared the House in a contentious vote Wednesday evening, less than 24 hours after the bill was announced and released to the public. The Care for Women, Children, and Families Act, a 46-page bill that Republicans unveiled Tuesday evening as the product of more than three months of private talks between GOP lawmakers, passed the House in a 71-46 vote. No Republicans voted against the bill, and no Democrats voted for it. The bill was introduced Tuesday as a conference report to an existing bill, which has allowed it to fly through the legislature without having to go through the normal process that typically involves multiple committees and lawmakers offering amendments. The Senate will take up the bill Thursday, and is expected to send it to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who has vowed to block it, but will likely see his veto defeated now that Republicans have a supermajority in both chambers.

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Oregon Republicans Stay Home Ahead of Abortion, Guns Votes

Associated Press, May 3

Republican state senators in Oregon didn’t show up to work on Wednesday, denying the Democrats who control the chamber a quorum and casting doubt on planned votes later this week on legislation pertaining to gun safety, abortion rights and gender-affirming health care. The boycott comes as several statehouses around the nation, including in Montana and Tennessee, have been battlegrounds between conservatives and liberals. Oregon has been increasingly divided between the liberal population centers like Portland and Eugene, and its mostly conservative rural areas. The office of Oregon Senate President Rob Wagner said 10 Republican senators and the chamber’s lone independent were absent Wednesday, and that four of the Republicans and the independent were absent without an excuse. The so-called walkout prevented the Senate from holding its scheduled session.

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Note: The information contained in this publication reflects media coverage of women’s health issues and does not necessarily reflect the views of the National Partnership for Women & Families.