Abortion advocates at the Guttmacher Institute and other pro-abortion institutions say they are “fighting back,” introducing more legislation to expand access to abortion than in any year in recent memory. But pro-life advocates say that public opinion, and the tide of history, is turning decisively against abortion-on-demand.
Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, announced that more pro-abortion legislation has been introduced this year than anytime in the last 20 years.
So far, 14 states have introduced 51 pieces of legislation to expand and strengthen women’s access to abortion, she said, up from 32 bills in six states in 2013.
Amanda Allen of the Center for Reproductive Rights told Bloomberg News that 2014 is a “tipping point” in American legislative history.
But “there is a significant difference between bills introduced and those enacted,” Denise Burke, vice president of legal affairs at Americans United for Life, told LifeSiteNews. “Last year, for example, more than 350 bills related to abortion were introduced in state legislatures,” but only about 20 percent became law, most of them pro-life.
The Guttmacher Institute told LifeSiteNews.com that, while dozens of new abortion-expanding bills had been offered, “thus far this year none have been enacted.”
The Supreme Court this morning effectively killed an Arizona bill that would have denied Planned Parenthood any share of state Medicaid dollars, declining to hear an appeal from the state.
The law would have deemed abortionists not “qualified” to receive state tax dollars intended for family planning services.
Governor Jan Brewer signed the “Whole Woman’s Healthcare Funding Prioritization Act” (H.B. 2800) in May 2012. The Obama administration filed a lawsuit challenging the law that October, arguing that the terms of federal law supersede state law.
U.S. District Judge Neil Wake issued an injunction, eventually striking the law down on February 11, 2013.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the most overturned appeals courts in the nation, unanimously upheld the ban last August.
The Supreme Court this morning refused to intervene, allowing the panel’s decision to stand.
Professor Michael J. New has written an excellent piece at the National Review Online about the progress pro-lifers made in calendar year 2013, particularly in state legislatures. Some highlights:
- A Texas bill was passed that banned abortions after 20 weeks gestation and mandated that abortion clinics meet the same standards as other surgical health-care facilities.
- Two other states banned abortion after 20 weeks of gestation.
- Four states limited abortion coverage in the health exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act.
- Eight states enacted bans on tele-med abortions.
Overall, according to the Guttmacher Institute, 70 state-level pro-life measures were enacted in 2103. This makes 2013 the second most productive year on record in terms of the number of pro-life laws that were passed. Overall, there were more pro-life laws enacted between 2011 and 2013 than in the entire previous decade.
Read the entire article here.
A survey of abortion clinics in the United States has concluded that a record number of 87 surgical abortion clinics closed in 2013.
The survey, conducted by pro-life organization Operation Rescue, found that the total number of surgical abortion clinics remaining in the United States is now 582, a twelve percent decrease in surgical abortion clinics in 2013 alone, and a 73 percent drop from a 1991 high of 2,176.
According to Operation Rescue, of the 87 clinics that discontinued surgical abortions, 81 are permanently closed, while six stopped performing surgical abortions but continued the sale of abortion-inducing drugs. The data does not include the eleven abortion clinics that were temporarily closed this year, but later reopened.
The number of clinics that only perform abortion via drugs remained fairly constant at 176, with six documented closures.
Texas is the state with the most closures of surgical abortion clinics – a total of eleven – following the passage of an abortion law earlier in the year. New abortion clinic safety regulations accounted for closures in Pennsylvania and Maryland as well.
The House Tuesday passed a bill that would ban most abortions nationwide after 20 weeks. The most far-reaching abortion legislation in the House in a decade, it was passed 228-196, mostly along party lines.
With Republicans supporting it and Democrats opposed, a House committee has passed a bill that would ban abortions nationwide at 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Much of the debate focused on amendments by Democrats who hoped to gut the bill and allow late-term abortions in cases of rape and incest, or to protect a woman’s health.
The committee passed the bill on a 20-12 vote and the measure now heads to the full House floor where it is expected to receive a debate and vote next week.
A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked Mississippi from revoking the license of the state’s only abortion clinic.
U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III extended an injunction he issued several months ago, which blocks the state from closing the clinic while it tries to fulfill a 2012 state law.
The law requires all OB-GYNs who do abortions at Jackson Women’s Health Organization to have privileges to admit patients to a local hospital.
North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed into law a measure that outlaws abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the premise that at that point a fetus can feel pain.
Dalrymple already has signed a law that bans abortion as early as six weeks, or when a fetal heartbeat is detected, making North Dakota the most restrictive state in the nation in which to get the procedure. The laws are not yet in force and are likely to face court challenges.
Kansas legislators gave final passage to a sweeping pro-life measure Friday night, sending Gov. Sam Brownback a bill that declares life begins at fertilization while blocking tax breaks for abortion providers and banning abortions performed solely because of the baby’s sex.
The House voted 90-30 for a compromise version of the bill reconciling differences between the two chambers, only hours after the Senate approved it, 28-10. The Republican governor is a strong abortion opponent, and supporters of the measure expect him to sign it into law so that the new restrictions take effect July 1.
In addition to the bans on tax breaks and sex-selection abortions, the bill prohibits abortion providers from being involved in public school sex education classes and spells out in more detail what information doctors must provide to patients seeking abortions.
Source: USA Today
Alabama lawmakers late Tuesday gave final passage to a measure placing stricter regulations on clinics that provide abortions.
The state House voted 68-21 to give final passage to the Womens Health and Safety Act. The vote came hours after the state Senate voted 20-10 to approve the bill after amending the measure to require clinics to tell patients what medications they had received.
The votes in the GOP-led legislature, mostly along partly lines, send the measure to Republican Gov. Robert Bentley, who backs the legislation.
The bill requires abortion clinics to use doctors who have approval to admit patients to hospitals in the same city. Some clinics now use doctors from other cities that don’t have local hospital privileges. A similar law in Mississippi is threatening to close that states only abortion clinic, which is challenging the law in court.
The bill also sets stricter building requirements, including wider halls and doors and better fire suppression systems. The state Department of Public Health, which regulates Alabama’s five abortion clinics, reports that most will not meet the stricter standards.
Under the bill, abortion clinics will be required to ask any girl under age 16 the name and age of the person who got her pregnant. She doesn’t have to answer. If she does answer and the father is more than two years older, the clinic must report that to police for investigation of a possible sex crime. If the girl is younger than 14, the clinic must report her name to the state Department of Human Resources for review.