Flurry of Legislation After U.S. Abortion Decision

A flurry of legislation has followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial 5-4 ruling last week to ban so-called partial-birth abortion. Some states and federal lawmakers are seeking to clarify abortion rights. Others have been inspired to dust off old laws and create new ones incorporating increased abortion restrictions.

During the past week, a North Dakota law was passed banning virtually all abortions, and Missouri voted to more stringently regulate abortion clinics, the Chicago Tribune reports. At the federal level, a Freedom of Choice Act has been proposed in Congress to codify protections conferred by the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion – protections that sponsors say have since been eroded.

Meanwhile, new provisions have just been added to proposed Florida abortion legislation that would impose a 24-hour waiting period and require a sonogram, reports the Miami Herald. In Illinois, a controversial legislative plan to strengthen parental notification requirements concerning abortions for minors was defeated yesterday, reports the Southern Illinoisan newspaper in Carbondale.

Hot-button issues include to what extent the life and health of the mother must be balanced with restrictions on abortion and what doctors must tell a patient who is considering an abortion.

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