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West Virginia, South Dakota pass controversial abortion restrictions

[JURIST] West Virginia and South Dakota on Thursday enacted controversial laws limiting abortions. In West Virginia, lawmakers overrode Governor Earl Ray Tomblin's [official profile] veto [JURIST report] and passed a law [SB 10] preventing the dilation and evacuation abortion procedure, widely held to be the safest second-trimester abortion method. Tomblin vetoed the bill citing patient health concerns and worries that the law may be unconstitutional, as courts overturned similar laws in Oklahoma and Kansas in 2015. Unless courts intervene, the law will go into effect in May. Also Thursday, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard [official profile] signed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act [text], which bans abortions after 20 weeks. Similar laws are in force in 12 states, but courts have overturned such laws in Arizona, Georgia and Idaho.

Abortion procedures and reproductive rights issues have been controversial topics throughout the US. Last month the Indiana Senate released a bill [JURIST report] from committee that would ban abortions based on genetic disabilities and would also require aborted or miscarried fetuses to be cremated or interred. Also last month the Oklahoma Supreme Court reversed [JURIST report] a lower court decision upholding a law that restricts use of medication abortion drugs. In November the US Supreme Court granted certiorari [JURIST report] to decide whether a Texas law, which requires that clinics have similar facilities to surgical center, posed an undue burden on the availability of abortion on the state.

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