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Abortion

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A University of Idaho memo warning staffers not to refer students to abortion or birth control providers has placed the school at the center of a debate over First Amendment rights and access to reproductive health care. But UI Provost Torrey Lawrence says the school was just trying to protect employees from punitive state laws. One of the laws bars the use of state funds to promote or endorse abortion or emergency contraception. Another makes it illegal for non-health care providers to advertise abortions or birth control. It's not clear exactly how the laws apply to the rest of Idaho's approximately 900,000 state employees, or if they affect others who get state funds like foster parents.

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India’s Supreme Court has ruled that all women, regardless of marital status, can obtain abortions up to 24 weeks into their pregnancies. Previously, under Indian law, married women could have abortions up to 24 weeks into their pregnancies, but single women were limited to 20 weeks. On Thursday, the court extended the 24-week period to all women. It said denying single women the same access to abortion violated the right to equality before the law under India’s Constitution. The judgment was cheered by reproductive rights activists, who said the court has ensured that the law does not discriminate and expands the right to safe and legal abortions to single women.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed more than a dozen laws aiming to make California an abortion sanctuary state. Several of the new laws would clash with restrictions in other states. They would block some out-of-state subpoenas and empower California's insurance commissioner to penalize health insurance companies that divulge information to out-of-state entities. Other states have passed laws allowing people to sue anyone who performs or aids in an abortion. Conflicts seem inevitable as more people travel for abortion services. One law professor says there is a lot of gray area when reconciling conflicting state laws.

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The head of a national group working to elect women who support abortion rights is backing efforts in North Carolina. EMILY’s List President Laphonza Butler spoke at a Raleigh news conference on Tuesday with Gov. Roy Cooper and state legislative candidates. She also planned to visit college campuses with Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Beasley. An arm of EMILY's List already spent $2.7 million on pro-Beasley ads. Butler says General Assembly races will determine whether abortion restrictions that Republicans are likely to seek can be vetoed by Cooper. Republicans could earn veto-proof majorities if they win two more Senate seats and three more House seats.

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Idaho universities are warning staffers not to refer students to abortion providers or emergency contraception because they could face criminal charges under a state law. One school also says employees shouldn't tell students how to get birth control. It’s the latest restriction in a state that already holds some of the strictest abortion laws in the nation. Mike Satz is the former interim dean at the University of Idaho’s College of Law. He says the guidance will have a chilling effect on speech. The prohibition on abortion and emergency contraception referrals come from a law passed in 2021. The ban on advertising birth control comes from a law first enacted in 1867.

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Experts say the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling overturning Roe v. Wade appears to be sending more teens to their doctors in search of birth control, including long-acting reversible forms like intrauterine devices and implants. Waits for appointments are growing in some areas, Planned Parenthood is getting a flood of questions and doctors report demand even among teens who aren’t sexually active. Some patients are especially fearful because some of the new abortion laws don’t include exceptions for sexual assault. Dr. Peggy Stager said dedicated spots for insertion of the Nexplanon implant are consistently filled at her Ohio practice and requests for contraceptive refills have increased 30% to 40% since the Court's June ruling.

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Women seeking abortions across Arizona were forced to find alternatives beyond the state’s borders after a court ruling last week cleared the way for prosecutors to charge doctors and others who help a woman end a pregnancy unless her life is in danger. The state’s major abortion providers immediately halted procedures and canceled appointments. Providers in neighboring states, already seeing an increase in traffic from other conservative states that have banned abortion, were preparing to treat some of the 13,000 Arizona patients who get an abortion each year.

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Arizona Democrats are vowing to fight for women’s rights after a court reinstated a law first enacted during the Civil War that bans abortion in nearly all circumstances. Democrats on Saturday looked to capitalize on an issue they hope will have a major impact on the midterm elections. Top Democrats implored women not to sit on the sidelines this year, saying the ruling sets women back  to an era when only men had the right to vote. Republican candidates have been silent since the ruling, which said the state can prosecute doctors and others who assist with an abortion unless it’s necessary to save the mother’s life.

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The way President Joe Biden sees it, the overturning of Roe vs. Wade by the Supreme Court wasn't just about whether a woman has the right to obtain an abortion. “It’s about freedom,” Biden said this past week while in New York. Vice President Kamala Harris tells voters that “extremist, so-called leaders trumpet the rhetoric of freedom while they take away freedoms." That deliberate echo of “freedom” from Biden, Harris and other top White House officials shows how Democrats at the highest ranks are increasingly co-opting traditionally conservative rhetoric in a blunt appeal to a broad swath of the electorate this fall.

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An Arizona judge says the state can enforce a near-total ban on abortions that has been blocked for nearly 50 years. Friday’s ruling by a judge in Tucson came after the state’s Republican attorney general sought an order lifting an injunction that was issued shortly after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Roe was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in June. Friday's ruling means clinics across Arizona will likely stop providing abortions. The law was first enacted decades before Arizona became a state in 1912. The only exception is if the mother’s life is in danger. Another law that bans abortions after 15 weeks takes effect Saturday.

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Indiana abortion clinics have resumed seeing patients a day after a judge put the state's abortion ban temporarily on hold. One patient who went to an Indianapolis clinic Friday was a woman who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity due to privacy concerns. She said it was for her second abortion. She is 31 years old now. Her first was at 16, when she was afraid of caring for a child and worried what her parents would think about her being pregnant. Under Indiana’s ban, which has exceptions, abortion clinics would have lost their licenses and been prohibited from providing any abortion care, leaving such services solely to hospitals or outpatient surgical centers owned by hospitals.

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A referendum on the Montana ballot in November raises the prospect of criminal charges for health care providers unless they take all medically appropriate and reasonable actions to preserve the life of an infant born alive, including after an attempted abortion. Supporters say the proposed law is meant to prevent the killing of infants outside the womb after failed abortions. But opponents argue it could rob them of precious time with infants who are born with incurable medical issues if doctors are forced to try to treat them. The bill's sponsor said the proposal is not intended to require extreme measures to try to treat fatal defects because that is not medically reasonable.

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The White House and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say a Republican-led proposal to ban abortion nationwide after 15 weeks would endanger the health of women and have severe consequences for physicians. The measure introduced last week by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina proposes a nationwide ban that would allow rare exceptions. The legislation has almost no chance of becoming law in the Democratic-controlled Congress. GOP leaders didn't immediately embrace it and Democrats are pointing to the proposal as an alarming signal of where Republicans would try to go if they were to win control of the Congress in November.

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An Indiana judge has blocked the state’s abortion ban from being enforced, putting the new law on hold as abortion clinic operators argue that it violates the state constitution. Owen County Judge Kelsey Hanlon issued a preliminary injunction Thursday against the ban that took effect one week ago. The injunction was sought by abortion clinic operators who argued in a lawsuit that the state constitution protects access to the medical procedure. The judge wrote “there is reasonable likelihood that this significant restriction of personal autonomy offends the liberty guarantees of the Indiana Constitution” and that the clinics will prevail in the lawsuit.

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Democrats are pumping an unprecedented amount of money into advertising related to abortion rights. The spending underscores how central the message is to the party in the final weeks before midterm elections. The most intense period of campaigning is only just beginning, and Democrats have already invested more than an estimated $124 million this year in television advertising referencing abortion. That’s twice as much money as the Democrats’ next top issue and almost 20 times more than Democrats spent on abortion-related ads in the 2018 midterms. The spending figures are based on an Associated Press analysis of data provided by the nonpartisan research firm AdImpact.

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