It was partly to address the growing amount of abortion-related legislation at the state level that the American Bar Association recently threw its weight behind abortion rights (see “ABA Approves Abortion Rights,” p. 49.)

Abortion continues to be a sharply debated issue in state legislatures, a reality that was widely anticipated following the Supreme Court’s Webster decision last summer, which opened the way for more regulation. Recently, abortion-related developments took place in the following states:

• Alabama: The House Public Welfare Committee passed a bill limiting birth-control abortions.

• Indiana: The House of Representatives passed three prolife bills, including a prohibition of sex-selective abortion, a measure preventing abortion after viability, and a bill requiring informed consent before an abortion. A Senate committee also passed the informed-consent measure to the surprise of most observers.

• Louisiana: A federal court denied a motion to reinstate enforcement of the 1855 criminal abortion law, which made abortion illegal and imposed strict penalties on doctors and women violating the code. At press time, an appeal had not been announced.

• Massachusetts: A bill that would have expanded the Victims’ Compensation Act to include public funding for abortion and abortion counseling in cases of rape was killed after a flurry of prolife lobbying.

• Michigan and South Carolina: Legislatures passed parental-consent bills. The Michigan governor, James Blanchard, quickly vetoed the measure.

• Mississippi: The House of Representatives passed a bill requiring informed consent before an abortion.

• Virginia: A bill requiring parental notification before a minor’s abortion was passed by the House Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee. In the Senate, it was unexpectedly passed by the General Laws Committee, but then referred to a Senate panel deemed hostile by prolife forces.

So far, prolife legislation has been announced in 26 of the state legislatures in session this year. Six states have no regular session scheduled for 1990.

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