Delaware HB 316 which was signed by the governor will prohibit discrimination of an employee, or potential employee, based on reproductive health decisions.
Illinois SB 1564, which amends the Health Care Right of Conscience Act to ensure that patients receive timely access to information and medically appropriate care, passed both chambers and was sent to the Governor.
The Columbus City Council unanimously passed an amendment to a disorderly conduct law which implements a 15-foot buffer zone around reproductive health care facilities.
South Carolina SB 1035, which bans medication abortion via telemedicine, but also bans prescribing erectile dysfunction medication through telemedicine, was enacted.
California SJR 19, which requests that the President and Congress express their support for access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare, including the services provided by Planned Parenthood, and oppose efforts to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, was adopted.
New Mexico SM 58, which will create a working group that studies the effect of LARCs access, was adopted.
Washington HB 2681, which will require a sticker or sign to be visibly posted in pharmacies in order to increase awareness of the availability of contraceptives, was enacted. Hawaii SB 2319, which will require insurers to cover a twelve-month period of contraception, passed both houses and was signed by the Governor. Maryland SB 848, Illinois HB 5576, and Vermont HB 620 will provide contraceptive equity in insurance coverage all passed both houses and are eligible for the governors’ signature and Maryland HB 1005 doing the same was enacted.
Legislation to Expand Access to Abortion
California AB 1954, which would prohibit health care plans from requiring a referral in order to receive reproductive or sexual health services, passed the Assembly, passed the Senate Committee on Health and was re-referred to the Senate Committee on Appropriations. Washington HB 1647, which passed the House, but failed, and Washington SB 5574 which passed the first committee, but failed, would have required health insurance policies to cover abortion care. Virginia HB 1225 and SB 183, which would have reversed prohibitions on abortion coverage and allowed all health insurance policies to cover abortion care, both died in committee. Illinois HB 4013, which provides for both Medicaid and private coverage for abortion care, passed the House Committee on Human Services and was referred to the House Committee on Rules. New York AB 3867, which would require abortion coverage whenever policies include coverage of maternity care or services, was introduced and referred to the Assembly Committee on Insurance. Ohio HB 356, which would provide Medicaid coverage, was referred to the House Committee on Rules and Reference and the House Committee on Community and Family Advancement. Arizona SB 1407, which failed, and Michigan SB 63 and HB 4764, Ohio HB 360, and Rhode Island HB 7467 which were all introduced, would reverse prohibitions to allow all health insurance to cover abortion.
Arizona HB 2412, which would have allowed the state nursing board to permit qualified nurse practitioners to perform abortions, was introduced but failed in committee.
New York AB 3693, which would ensure that abortion training is included in medical residency training, was introduced and referred to the Assembly Committee on Health.
Washington HB 1403, which failed, would have allowed medication abortion via telemedicine.
Legislation to Protect Clinic Patients and Staff
California AB 2263, which would protect individuals associated with reproductive healthcare by prohibiting entities from publicly posting their home addresses, passed the Assembly, passed the Senate Committee on Judiciary, and was referred to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
New Hampshire SB 542, which passed the first committee but failed, would have amended civil and criminal law to prohibit harassment of clinic patients and staff. New York AB 182, which was introduced and referred to the Assembly Committee on Codes, and Pennsylvania SB 1105, which was introduced and referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, would amend civil and criminal law to prohibit harassment of clinic patients and staff.
Ohio HB 408, which would create a 15-foot buffer zone to protect clinic patients and staff, was introduced and referred to the House Committee on Judiciary.
New York AB 3454, which would define photographing persons entering a reproductive health care services facility as aggravated harassment, was introduced and referred to the Assembly Committee on Codes.
Legislation to Guarantee Medically Accurate Abortion Care
See the model legislation, Protect Physician Integrity from Political Interference Act from the Public Leadership Institute’s Playbook for Abortion Rights.
See the model legislation, Protect Physician Integrity from Political Interference Act from the Public Leadership Institute’s Playbook for Abortion Rights.
Legislation restricting crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs)
Arizona HB 2206, which failed, would have required that CPCs provide scientifically accurate information and mandates that CPCs post a notice in English and Spanish stating “this center is not a licensed medical facility.” Arizona HB 2409, which failed, would have required that CPCs be licensed as outpatient treatment centers. Arizona HB 2664, which failed, would have required CPCs to provide clients with a list of reproductive health services they do not provide. Missouri HB 1906, which failed, would have required CPCs to post a notice if they don’t have licensed medical personnel. New York SB 508 which was introduced and referred to the Senate Committee on Health and AB 4055, which was introduced and referred to the Assembly Committee on Health, would both require CPCs to provide some basic information to patients.
See the model legislation, Truth in Medicine Act, Pregnancy Center Disclosure Act, and Crisis Pregnancy Center Fraud Prevention Act from the Public Leadership Institute’s Playbook for Abortion Rights.
Legislation to Prevent Employment Discrimination and Interference
New York AB 1142, which passed the Assembly and was referred to the Senate Committee on Insurance, would prohibit discrimination of an employee or potential employee based on reproductive health decisions.
Michigan HB 4716, which was introduced and referred to the House Committee on Commerce and Trade, Missouri HB 1978, which failed, and New York SB 2709, which passed the Senate Committee on Labor and was referred to the Senate Committee on Insurance, would protect employees from employment discrimination based on reproductive health choices.
Legislation to expose the hypocrisy of the anti-abortion movement
Kentucky HB 396, Iowa HB 2141, Tennessee HB 1927, and Tennessee SB 2292, which all failed, and South Carolina HB 4544, which passed the first committee, all satirically expose the hypocrisy of the anti-abortion movement by legislating Erectile Dysfunction in the way that abortion is legislated.
Legislation to demonstrate support for abortion rights
New York AB 6221, which would protect access to reproductive health care by codifying abortion rights established in Roe v. Wade, passed the Assembly and was referred to the Senate Committee on Health. Michigan SR 118, Michigan HR 205, New Jersey SCR 78, which passed the Senate and Rhode Island HB 7444 are all resolutions or legislation that confirm the right to abortion services, show support for abortion rights, Roe v. Wade, and Planned Parenthood, or request for the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate violence against reproductive health providers.
Legislation to Expand Access to Long-acting Reversible Contraception (LARCs)
Missouri HB 2775, which would have allowed the transfer of an unclaimed LARC to another eligible patient, failed. Florida HB 947, which failed, would have expanded access to Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARCs). Florida SB 1116, and Kansas HB 2586, which both failed, would have expanded access to Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARCs).
Since the original funding for the Colorado Family Planning Initiative ended, and the legislature failed to pass HB 15-1194 in May 2015, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed the budget bill, HB 1405 which provides $2.5 million for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to provide LARCs to low income and uninsured women.
Massachusetts SB 2305 is the new text of an appropriations and budget bill taken from Massachusetts HB 4201 and Massachusetts SB 4, which would authorize postpartum LARC insertion coverage if adopted.
Legislation to expand access Emergency Contraception
Massachusetts HB 4364, the new draft of Massachusetts HB 1278, which would require that victims of sexual assault be given information or receive emergency contraception, was introduced and referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. Michigan SB 172 which was introduced and referred to the Senate Committee on Health Policy and Michigan HB 4717, which was introduced and referred to the House Committee on Appropriations, would both require medical personnel, police, and colleges to provide information about emergency contraception to survivors of sexual assault. Arizona SB 1407 and Missouri HB 1908, which both failed, and Michigan HB 4218, Michigan SB 736, Ohio SB 101, and Pennsylvania SB 542 would require medical personnel to offer emergency contraception to sexual assault survivors (EC in the ER bills). New York AB 6275 would require public colleges and universities to provide emergency contraception to any student requesting it. Hawaii 2672 which will authorize advanced practice registered nurses to administer emergency contraception was enacted.
Legislation to require pharmacies to stock and dispense contraception
Missouri HB 1907 which failed, would have required pharmacies to stock and dispense contraception. New Jersey AB 2369, which was introduced and referred to the Assembly Committee on Women and Children, requires pharmacies to stock and dispense emergency contraception.
Legislation to allow pharmacists to prescribe contraception
California SB 999, New Jersey AB 4030, and New Jersey SB 1073, which would allow pharmacists to dispense self-administered hormonal contraceptives, and District of Columbia B21-707, which would also authorize pharmacists to prescribe and dispense contraceptive supplies and would require insurance coverage of a twelve-month supply of contraception, were introduced.
The following bills would have authorized pharmacists to prescribe and dispense contraceptive supplies, but failed: Hawaii SB 2320, which passed the Senate; Missouri HB 1679, which passed the House; Washington SB 6467, which passed the first committee; Wisconsin AB 968; Missouri HB 1679; and Washington SB 6467, which passed the first committee which passed the House.
Legislation to ensure coverage for a 12-month supply of contraception
The following bills would require insurance coverage for up to a twelve-month supply of contraception: District of Columbia B21-707 was introduced, California SB 999 passed the Senate and was referred to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations, New Jersey AB 2297 passed the Assembly Committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance, and New Jersey SB 659 passed the Senate Committee on Commerce and was referred to the Senate Committee on Budget and Appropriations, Alaska SB 156 passed the first committee, and Michigan SB 466.
The following bills would have required insurance coverage for up to a twelve-month supply of contraception, but failed: Colorado HB 1322 passed the House, Washington HB 1647 passed the House, Washington SB 6369 , Washington HB 2465 passed the House and the second committee, Minnesota HB 2606, and Wisconsin SB 724.
Legislation to provide a form of contraceptive equity in insurance coverage
Massachusetts HB 948, which would ensure that insurance policies provide coverage for all types of contraceptive medication and devices, passed the Joint Committee on Financial Services and an extension order was granted until 7/6/2016.
The following bills would ensure that insurance policies provide coverage for all types of contraceptive medication and devices: Ohio HB 132, Vermont HB 620, Alaska HB 345, passed the first committee; Colorado HB 1294, passed the House, New York SB 6013, New York AB 8135 passed the Assembly, Alaska HB 345 passed the Committee on Health and Social Services, Washington HB 1502, Washington SB 5026, Washington SB 6493 failed, and Florida SB 1048 was withdrawn.
Legislation to repeal anti-abortion rights laws
New York AB 6221, which passed the Assembly, would repeal a telemedicine abortion ban.
Arizona SB 1483, which failed, would have repealed a 24 hour waiting period and Ohio HB 357 would repeal the waiting period and parental notice for abortion. Arizona SB 1476, which failed, would have repealed clinic inspections. New York SB 4432, and Wisconsin SB 701 and HB 916, which both failed, would have repealed existing statutory prohibitions of abortion. Arizona HB 2411, which failed, would have repealed a telemedicine abortion ban. Rhode Island HB 7612 would repeal spousal notice before an abortion procedure. Utah HB 246, which failed, would have repealed the restriction on the use of public funds for contraception and abortion. Kansas HB 2581, which failed, would have repealed the physician-only requirement for abortion. Massachusetts HB 1608 would repeal the requirement that a late-term abortion be performed in a hospital.
Finally, Wisconsin SB 653 and AB 880, which both failed, were comprehensive bills that would have required physicians to provide medically accurate information, protected employees from discrimination based on reproductive health choices, required contraceptive equity within health coverage, and repealed abortion restrictions.
See the model legislation, Prevent Political Interference from Delaying Abortion Act from the Public Leadership Institute’s Playbook for Abortion Rights.
Other Repro Rights Wins
On Monday, June 27, 2016, In Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellersted, the Supreme Court, in a 5-3 opinion, reversed and remanded the judgement of the Fifth Circuit of Appeals which upheld Texas law HB2. This opinion reaffirmed and clarified the “undue burden” standard from Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
Immediately following the Supreme Court ruling, abortion restrictions in Mississippi, Wisconsin, Florida, Indiana, were blocked from going into effect and the Attorney General in Alabama refused to appeal in a case on an admitting privileges law.
On Tuesday, June 21, 2016, a Superior Court Judge in Skagit County, Washington ruled that the largest hospital district must follow the Reproductive Privacy Act 1991 which requires that public hospitals that provide maternity services must also provide the equivalent abortion services. The judge found that while individual providers may opt out of providing abortion services, “the Hospital District must comply with its responsibility under the Reproductive Privacy Act”.
On Tuesday, June 21, 2016, the Office for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Health and Human Services rejected a “right of conscience” Weldon Amendment complaint and upheld the California Department of Managed Care. Their investigation concluded that the Weldon Amendment does not extend to health insurance firms that have no moral objection to providing abortion coverage and instead are acting on the request of religious-minded customers.
Food and Drug Administration Approve Updated Label for Mifepristone
On March 30, 2016 the Food and Drug Administration announced an updated label for Mifepristone, the abortion medication, that is more consistent with evidence-based usage that clinicians have been using for years. More information on the label regimen can be found at www.earlyoptionpill.com
According to the National Abortion Federation the new labeling:
- Increases the gestational age limit for medical abortion eligibility (70 days from 49 days);
- Allows for a lower dose of mifepristone (200 mg from 600 mg);
- Changes the misoprostol dose and route of administration (800µg buccal from 400µg oral);
- Offers more flexibility for advanced practice clinicians as it expands provider eligibility to include all prescribers who are authorized to provide medical abortion care; and
- No longer requires follow-up to be provided using an in-person clinic visit.
This labeling has the potential to change the landscape of medication abortion policies in the states. Currently 3 states, Texas, North Dakota, and Ohio require that mifepristone is to be provided in accordance with, prior to yesterday, the outdated FDA protocol. With the new label, these laws should require that the pill is to be provided in accordance with the new guidelines, which are consistent with the evidence-based protocol preferred by medical professionals. Three states, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Arizona have similar laws that have been enjoined or blocked in the courts.
According to the Guttmacher Institute 37 states have laws that require licensed physicians to perform medication abortion. The new FDA labeling for Mifepristone expands provider eligibility which could include Advanced Practice Clinicians. See the model legislation, Access to Medication Abortion Act from the Public Leadership Institute’s Playbook for Abortion Rights.