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States brief ~ MA legislature overrides veto of emergency contraception bill

[JURIST] Leading Thursday's states brief, the Massachusetts state legislature today overrode Governor Mitt Romney's veto [JURIST report] of a bill [text] which requiring emergency room doctors to offer emergency contraception to rape victims. Romney said he would not sign the bill because doing so would violate his campaign pledge not to change the state's abortion laws. Romney was concerned the contraception could abort a fertilized egg. During his 2002 campaign, however, the governor said that he supported broader access to emergency contraception. AP has more.

In other state legal news ...

  • Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz [official website] announced Thursday that the state's 3,500 lever-style mechanical voting machines may have to be replaced as a federal commission has ruled [Commission's advisory opinion] the machines are not accessible to all voters and she has asked state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to determine whether the advisory opinion is binding on the state. A spokesperson for the US Election Assistance Commission [official website], which advises states on how to comply with the federal Help America Vote Act [PDF text] created after the 2000 presidential election, said it is up to the US Department of Justice to decide whether the state is required to switch to new voting devices. Connecticut has received about $33 million from the federal government to improve voting in the state. A press conference was scheduled for this afternoon. AP has more.

  • A federal judge has ruled [PDF text] Michigan's Legal Birth Definition Act is unconstitutional as it places an "undue burden" on a women's right to choose to have an abortion. US District Judge Denise Page Hood struck down the law [PDF text], which supporters said would ban a late term abortion procedure, because its vague language would ban pre-viable abortion procedures, and the exception for the life of the mother unconstitutionally requires doctors to balance the interests of the woman and the fetus. Furthermore, Judge Hood found the law's health of the mother exception to be meaningless. A spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan [ACLU press release] said the ruling "is a victory for all Michigan families," and the Michigan Catholic Conference [Conference press release] said it will urge state Attorney General Mike Cox to appeal the ruling. AP has more.

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