Few State Laws Restricting Abortion Make Exceptions For Rape Victims

Topics: Women’s Health, States, Politics, Delivery of Care

Aug 24, 2012

Politico Pro examines state abortion laws and finds few waivers for rape victims. Also, California lawmakers spar over rape comments made by Missouri Republican Rep. Todd Akin.

Politico Pro: In State Abortion Laws, Few Rape Exceptions
Todd Akin has put the entire Republican Party on the defensive over whether anti-abortion laws should have exceptions for rape — but the reality is that existing state abortion restrictions don’t give a lot of protections to rape survivors. More than half of the states in the nation — 26 in total — currently have laws in place that require women seeking an abortion to undergo counseling and complete a waiting period before having the procedure. But only one, Utah, completely waives the counseling procedure for women who have been raped. And Kansas, Pennsylvania and Virginia all waive just one portion of their required counseling for rape survivors — the part where they provide information about collecting child support (Smith, 8/23).

The Associated Press/Houston Chronicle: Calif. Lawmakers Exchange Barbs Over Abortion Bill
The national furor over a Missouri congressman’s comments about rape and abortion spilled into the California Legislature on Thursday, stoking a partisan — and personal — exchange. The clash arose during an Assembly debate on a bill to further study whether nurse practitioners can safely perform a common method of abortion. Democrats said they took offense over Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s statement this week that women have enough control over their bodies to prevent pregnancy during a rape. Republican lawmakers in the state Assembly called abortion an inhumane way to end life (Lin, 8/23).

Abortion issues are also playing out in Senate and local races in Massachusetts and New Hampshire

The Boston Globe: Abortion Opposition Group To Back Scott Brown
The state’s leading antiabortion group said Thursday that it plans to support Senator Scott Brown‘s reelection campaign, potentially undercutting the Republican’s effort this week to distance himself from his party’s support for strict antiabortion measures. “We consider him a senator who votes prolife,” said Anne Fox, president of the Massachusetts Citizens for Life. “We have to take his word for it when he says he is prochoice. But what we’re looking for is someone who votes prolife, and he does.” Brown said he would not reject the backing of Massachusetts Citizens for Life but reiterated that he considers himself a supporter of abortion rights (Levenson, 8/24).

Reuters: New Hampshire Candidate Backs Down On Abortion Threats
A Republican candidate in New Hampshire backed down on Thursday from a suggestion he would use “deadly force” to stop doctors from performing abortions, saying he “let his imagination get out of control.” Frank Szabo, who is running for sheriff in Hillsborough County, caused an uproar with his threats to crack down on legal abortion with arrests, prosecution and further actions aimed at doctors (Krasny, 8/23).

This is part of Kaiser Health News‘ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

Official portrait of United States Senator Sco...

Official portrait of United States Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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