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State Special: Quick Update from the States

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Before the weekend comes, and the pending SCOTUS-palooza takes hold, I wanted to take advantage of the calm before the storm and keep you up-to-date with that latest goings on in the states. There's so much wackiness, craziness, and drama, all of which puts the health of women at risk. So much so, that the Center for American Progress Action Fund dedicated an entire Progress Report to the abortion wars stateside.

BTW - Fake bonus points and a virtual high-five will be rewarded to the first person who figures out the reason behind the ordering of the states in the update.

Florida: The Florida Legislature used all kinds of legislative shenanigans to pass an anti-choice bill, and it's now up to Gov. Charlie Crist to sign or veto it. Yep - that Gov. Crist. Naturally, Rep. Kendrick Meek and other pro-choice Florida state lawmakers encouraged Crist to veto the bill that basically trades women's dignity and privacy for a cheap election-year victory. We are mobilizing thousands of our supporters in the Sunshine State, so please take a moment to help us by sharing this news with your friends in Florida to help spread the word about why this bill is so bad for women.

Pro-Choice Progress in Pennsylvania: Looking for a sign of pro-choice progress? Who isn't? There's a bill moving forward in Pennsylvania that would ensure all public schools teach comprehensive sex education that is age-appropriate and medically accurate.

Tennessee Can't Catch a Break: We're sad to report that, in addition to the horrific and devastating flooding going on in Nashville and surrounding areas, politicians have made this week even worse by taking away choices from women. This week, Tennessee became the second state to ban insurance coverage of abortion in the exchange that will be established under the new health-reform law. The law prohibits abortion coverage even in cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest. We're outraged by this unfortunate news, how about you?

Mighty Missouri: At least there's some great news coming from Missouri. The anti-choicers failed to get a so-called "personhood" measure on the November ballot. Our colleagues at NARAL Pro Choice Missouri worked hard to fight this:

Clearly, "personhood" provisions are much too extreme for Missourians. Voters in Missouri value privacy and each person's ability to make their own health decisions. Anti-choice tactics like this one would make drastic, unnecessary changes to current law. Pro-choice and pro-privacy Missourians wisely rejected this proposal and will do it again should any more outrageous attacks on women's health surface.

A huge round of applause goes out to our friends at NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri and their allies.

Oklahoma, Okay... Sorta: Oklahoma women caught a break this week... at least for now. A new anti-choice law is on hold pending the results of legal challenges in the courts. This is good news, because it sounds like the law was really traumatic for some women. Check out this article to learn more.

The Drama Continues in Kansas: Last week, anti-choice forces in the House fell two votes short of reversing the governor's veto of an anti-choice bill. As we all know, a lot can change over a weekend - and it did. The House voted again, and this time they managed to overturn the veto. The bill then went to the Kansas Senate, where the veto override failed by one vote. Stay tuned for more Sunflower-State drama, and check out this article for more info.

Montana Columnist Says What??: Yesterday, a really, really egregious opinion ran in the Helena Independent Record. In it, columnist Randy Rickman basically says that the recent anti-choice bill from Oklahoma (see above) is a good thing. Just how bad? Well, read this excerpt:

Will understanding the full impact of an abortion, up front, mean there will be more consultation and soul searching before making a decision? Probably so. And if that decision is made only after evaluating all the information, won't that be a better decision?

Look - we know that women accessing abortion care have thought about their decision. They have the thoughtfulness and the intelligence to make private medical decisions without a state-mandated script or a viewing of an ultrasound against their will. So clearly, this bill serves no other purpose than to shame and demean women for making a decision that some lawmakers in Oklahoma would like to take away from women altogether. It is not about informing women of their options. The law's intent is to intimidate women from exercising their right to choose while questioning their decision-making. NARAL Pro-Choice Montana is on the case, and is working on responding via letters and other options, like Twitter and Facebook.

That's all for this week. Rest up, pro-choice nation. Something tells me that next week will be a doozy!

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