As I write this blog, I’m gazing across the Saint John River onto the beautiful snowy slopes of the Canadian countryside. My location is Madawaska, a picturesque little community that proudly calls itself “the most northeastern town in the United States.” While one could certainly justify taking a vacation here, that is not my purpose. I’m here on an educational mission, and my objective is clear: teach tomorrow’s leaders about the Bill of Rights.
South Dakota is dealing with a bevy of anti-choice bills this legislative session. One of the more preposterous bills is HB 1162, An Act to Prohibit the Practice of Sex-Selective Abortions. The bill is being touted as a women's rights bill, but, of course, nothing could be farther from the truth. The "urgent need" for the bill is premised on the misconception that some women's sole purpose for seeking an abortion is to abort their female fetus.
Earlier this week, both the Maine State Senate and House voted down LD 1428, a bill that would have authorized discrimination in the name of religion. The so-called "religious freedom" bill actually had little to do with religious freedom, which the ACLU of Maine has a long (and successful) history of defending, but would have created a gaping exemption to the Maine Human Rights Act. We testified against the bill last month, along side our partners in the Religious Coalition Against Discrimination, the LGBT Coalition, the Coalition for Maine Women, the Choice Coalition, and many more.
New Hampshire senate just passed a bill that would create a 25-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics. SB 319 passed 15 to 9, despite the fact that the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 3 to 2 to reject the bill. The bill had strong bipartisan support in the senate; this most likely contributed to the bill’s passage. The bill is now headed to to the house for a vote.