abortion

Updated at 11:45 a.m. ET

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit has blocked an Arkansas law that bans abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The case was filed by two doctors on their own and their patients' behalf.

The court's ruling notes:

"By banning abortions after 12 weeks' gestation, the Act prohibits women from making the ultimate decision to terminate a pregnancy at a point before viability. Because the State made no attempt to refute the plaintiffs' assertions of fact, the district court's summary judgment order must be affirmed."

A bill prohibiting abortions based on the baby's sex was approved by Louisiana's full House Thursday. The bill's author, Houma Rep. Lenar Whitney explained why she brought the bill.

"The practice of sex-selection abortion has made its way from the Asian nations to inside our borders here in the United States," Whitney said.

Whitney said those cultures prefer boys over girls, and this is about protecting mothers and their potential daughters. "In high Asian immigrant populations, many of these women were coerced into abortions and threatened by divorce and violence if they did not bear sons."

Google "abortion Columbus" and halfway down the first page is a headline: "Your Right to Choose, Abortion in Columbus." It's for Pregnancy Decision Health Center, or PDHC, a chain of six sites in Ohio's capital whose aim is actually to guide women out of having the procedure.

Like many of the thousands of crisis pregnancy centers across the U.S., the PDHC near Ohio State University is right next door to a Planned Parenthood. There's a cozy room for private chats and a larger open space decorated in soothing colors.

A popular contraception program in Colorado is receiving criticism from conservative lawmakers who say that the program's use of intrauterine devices, or IUDs, qualify as abortions.

More than 30,000 women in Colorado have gotten a device because of the state program, the Colorado Family Planning Initiative. An IUD normally costs between $500 and several thousand dollars. Through the program women could receive one for free.

A part of a Texas abortion law — one that requires that any clinic performing abortions meet stringent, hospital-like medical standards — is on trial this week in a U.S. appeals court.

The effect of the law has already been dramatic in Texas. Before it passed, a year and a half ago, more than 40 clinics provided abortions in the state. Now there are about 17 such facilities. If this part of the law is reinstated, about 10 facilities would close, leaving vast distances between some residents and the nearest clinic.

Advocates for abortion rights are increasingly calling on women who've had the procedure to tell their stories publicly in an effort to combat the "shame and stigma" around it.

The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked enforcement of an Arizona law aimed at limiting use of the increasingly popular abortion pill. In 2012 nearly half of the abortions in the state were via the pill, known as RU-486.

The pill was approved by the FDA in 2000 for the first seven weeks of pregnancy. Since then, scientists have developed safer and smaller doses that allow the drug to be used through the ninth week.

Amid all the shakeout from this week's midterm elections, many are trying to assess the impact on abortion.

Two abortion-related ballot measures were soundly defeated. A third passed easily. And those favoring restrictions on abortion will have a much bigger voice in the new Congress.

In North Dakota and Colorado, voters rejected 2-to-1 so-called personhood measures, which would give legal rights to fetuses.

Texans on both sides of the abortion issue are taking stock after the U.S. Supreme Court intervened in a lawsuit over a state law that would require clinics that provide abortion services to conform to standards for ambulatory surgery centers.

The court issued an order late Tuesday saying 13 Texas clinics that had to close can reopen their doors for now.

A requirement that doctors providing abortion have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles has yet to take effect in Louisiana, while a legal challenge is pending.

Texas started enforcing a very similar restriction last November. Half the abortion clinics in that state immediately closed.

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