U.S. Repro Watch provides periodic updates on news of interest on U.S. reproductive rights. Here are four recent items you won’t want to miss:
1. The Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down two vigilante-style abortion bans.
- In its May 31 decision, the court ruled that the two citizen-enforced bans prevented access to care in life-threatening situations and were thus unconstitutional. The ruling in the case—brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights and its partners—reaffirmed the court’s decision in March recognizing the right to abortion in such circumstances.
- A recent study of Oklahoma hospitals by the Center and its partners found that not a single hospital contacted could articulate clear policies for emergency abortion care.
2. A South Carolina state court blocked another six-week abortion ban.
- The ban—blocked May 26, the day after it took effect—is nearly identical to one struck down by the South Carolina Supreme Court in January.
- The ruling came in response to a lawsuit by the Center and partners arguing that the ban was unconstitutional under the South Carolina constitution, violating its guarantees to privacy, equal protection and due process.
3. In Nebraska, a lawsuit was filed to block a new law that bans abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy and prohibits gender-affirming care for young people.
- The abortion ban, which took effect immediately, was shoehorned into the gender-affirming care bill as an amendment after a separate bill to ban abortion at about six weeks failed to overcome a filibuster.
- The lawsuit argues that the law violates a state constitutional requirement that legislative bills stick to a single subject.
- Under the new law, people under 19 will be prevented from receiving gender-confirming surgery and the use of hormone treatments and puberty blockers will be restricted in minors. The ban on gender-affirming care takes effect Oct. 1.
4. In other state news:
- Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo signed a “shield law” to protect abortion providers and patients from legal action by other states, making it the 15th state to do so. Other states with shield laws include CT, NY, MA, CA, DE, NJ, IL, HI, NM, CO, MN, WA, MD, and VT, as well as the District of Columbia.
- Texas lawmakers approved a bill to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage to 12 months, sending it to Gov. Greg Abbot for approval. However, the legislation has language excluding those who have obtained abortions from being eligible for the extended Medicaid coverage.
Did you know?
In international news, the Argentinian government said last week that it will no longer require a prescription to obtain emergency contraception, broadening reproductive rights in the traditionally conservative country.
Emergency contraception is available without a prescription in at least 70 countries, including the United States. Most Latin American countries allow emergency contraceptives, but some require prescriptions or have a minimum age requirement.
June 8: Hearing on the Center’s lawsuit to protect access to medication abortion in three states.
- A federal court will hear arguments over whether to protect access to the abortion medication mifepristone in Virginia, Kansas, and Montana. Abortion providers in those states, represented by the Center, sued the FDA last month seeking a ruling similar to that in State of Washington v. FDA, which ordered the FDA not to make any changes that would restrict access to mifepristone in 17 states and the District of Columbia.
- The lawsuit was filed just two weeks after the Supreme Court temporarily blocked an unprecedented court order from Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk seeking to roll back access to mifepristone.
- The hearing will begin at 11 a.m. ET on June 8 in Charlottesville at the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia.