Tough New Laws Hit Abortions, Immigrants, Voters

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About 40,000 state laws that took effect in the new year will change rules about obtaining abortions in New Hampshire, teaching about gays and lesbians in California and voter-identification acts in at least four states, MSNBC reports:

In New Hampshire, a law requiring girls seeking abortions to tell their parents or a judge first was reinstated by conservative Republicans over a gubernatorial veto. The state enacted a similar law eight years ago, but it was never enforced following a series of lawsuits.


A California law will add gays and lesbians and people with disabilities to the list of social and ethnic groups whose contributions must be taught in history lessons in public schools. The law also bans teaching materials that reflect poorly on gays or particular religions.

New laws requiring voters to present photo identification will go into effect in Kansas, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas. A law in New Hampshire will require election day registrants who do not present a photo ID to return a mailed identify verification. An additional Tennessee law will require election officials to identify possible non-citizens who are registered to vote and require them to present proof of citizenship in order to remain registered voters.

These are just a few examples of the bills that were signed into law. The California measure is the only one that makes sense here. We hope the New Hampshire law does not hinder young girls' legal right to choose, but we sense court challenges ahead.

And where do we begin with the voter-ID laws? We hope that groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union continue to work against these GOP laws, which disproportionately affect minorities and young voters, who largely vote for Democratic candidates.

Read more at MSNBC.