June 21, 2013
"Supreme Court Considers Entering Mandatory Ultrasound Debate," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: The Supreme Court this week is expected to decide whether to intervene in a case -- Pruitt v. Nova Health Systems -- challenging "a December 2012 decision by the Oklahoma Supreme Court that declared the Oklahoma Ultrasound Act, which requires the performance, display, and explanation of a pre-abortion ultrasound, to be facially unconstitutional," Mason Pieklo writes. She explains, "Because the Oklahoma supreme court chose to strike down HB 2780 under the federal rather than the Oklahoma constitution, its ruling in Pruitt creates a potential split with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that has previously upheld a similar ultrasound requirement in Texas." She adds, "This apparent disagreement in whether mandatory ultrasound laws represent an undue burden on abortion rights under [Planned Parenthood v. Casey] is just the kind of question the Supreme Court likes to answer." Mason Pieklo notes that if the high court does not take up the case, then the state Supreme Court decision will stand. "But should the court decide to review the decision then by this time next year we will have a much better idea just how far abortion rights have receded in this country," she writes (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 6/18).
"Now That Plan B is Available to all Women, Conservatives Want To Restrict it on the State Level," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "Anti-choice groups are already trying to figure out how they can lobby for state laws that will restrict access to emergency contraception, despite the Obama Administration's" recent decision to allow unrestricted over-the-counter EC sales, Culp-Ressler writes. She points out that in Arkansas, for example, a "preliminary effort has begun" among opponents to "impos[e] either an age limit or a total ban on Plan B sales next year." Arkansas already allows "pharmacies to refuse to sell a drug if they have a 'moral objection' to it," Culp-Ressler adds, noting that many other states have similar provisions in place. Federal "[l]egislation introduced by the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) would standardize pharmacies' practices to ensure that women aren't denied reproductive care, but it hasn't moved in Congress," she writes (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 6/19).