In the past five years, state lawmakers have passed a huge number of pro-life laws to protect unborn babies and their moms from abortion, according to a new report.
The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, released its latest tally of abortion-related laws on Thursday. The research group reports that states enacted 334 abortion restrictions between 2011 and early July 2016. According to the analysis, the new laws account for 30 percent of all abortion restrictions since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade in 1973.
These new laws are accompanying even more good news for unborn babies and moms. Abortion rates are dropping to new lows since Roe v. Wade, down from a high point of approximately 1.6 million abortions per year to about 1.1 million. Teen pregnancy and abortion rates specifically are dropping to all-time lows, and a record-number of abortion facilities are shutting their doors. Abortion numbers are still shockingly high in the U.S., but these new pro-life laws could bring an even steeper drop in abortions in the coming years.
So far this year, states passed 46 pro-life laws and lawmakers introduced 445 pro-life bills, according to Guttmacher. Many of the pro-life measures came about as a direct result of the undercover videos from the Center for Medical Progress, which showed evidence that Planned Parenthood may be illegally profiting off the sale of aborted babies’ body parts.
The Guttmacher analysis found that 24 states introduced measures to take away taxpayer dollars from Planned Parenthood after the first undercover video came out last July. Of those, 10 states have laws in effect or are awaiting implementation, and nine states have had their laws blocked by lawsuits from Planned Parenthood or by other means, the report found.
Other legislation included bans on brutal dismemberment abortions and abortions after 20 weeks when scientific evidence shows that unborn babies can feel intense pain. Dismemberment abortion, performed on a fully-formed, living unborn baby usually in the second trimester, is a barbaric and dangerous procedure in which the unborn child is literally ripped apart in the womb and pulled out in pieces. Many of the states modeled their legislation based on a bill from the National Right to Life Committee that would ban “dismemberment abortion,” using forceps, clamps, scissors or similar instruments on a living unborn baby to remove him or her from the womb in pieces. Such instruments are used in dilation and evacuation abortions.
Here is the breakdown of the laws from the report:
- By the end of June, four states enacted legislation to ban the most common method used to perform abortions during the second trimester. The Mississippi and West Virginia laws are in effect; the other two have been challenged in court. (Similar provisions enacted last year in Kansas and Oklahoma are also blocked pending legal action.)
- South Carolina and North Dakota both enacted measures banning abortion at or beyond 20 weeks postfertilization, which is equivalent to 22 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period. This brings to 16 the number of states with these laws in effect (see State Policies on Later Abortion).
- Indiana and Louisiana adopted provisions banning abortions under specific circumstances. The Louisiana law banned abortions at or after 20 weeks postfertilization in cases of diagnosed genetic anomaly; the law is slated to go into effect on August 1. Indiana adopted a groundbreaking measure to ban abortion for purposes of race or sex selection, in cases of a genetic anomaly, or because of the fetus’s color, national origin or ancestry; enforcement of the measure is blocked pending the outcome of a legal challenge.
- Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed a sweeping measure that would have banned all abortions except those necessary to protect the woman’s life.
Other legislation included waiting periods, informed consent requirements and abortion facility regulations, the report found. Several states also introduced or passed legislation to ban discriminatory abortions based on the unborn baby’s sex, race or a disability.
While most of the legislation involved abortion restrictions, a few states also passed pro-abortion laws. According to the report, there were 22 new pro-abortion laws enacted this year.