by Steven Ertelt
January 31, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — As state legislatures go back into session across the nation, hundreds of pro-life bills covering topics such as abortion, euthanasia, and stem cell research will come up for debate. Some states are considering measures to ban abortions, but pro-life groups urge caution because they will still be overturned in court.
Lawmakers in at least five states, including Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, South Dakota and Tennessee, have proposed legislation to prohibit all or most abortions.
South Dakota state Rep. Roger Hunt, a Republican, told StateLine, a news service that monitors state legislation, that he thinks it’s time to test the court.
But even with the Senate’s confirmation of appeals court Judge Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court, there are still no more than four Justices who favor reversing Roe v. Wade, the high court’s decision that legalized abortion throughout pregnancy.
Because of that scenario, pro-life leaders who are involved in helping state’s pass pro-life legislation urge caution.
Clarke Forsythe, a leading attorney at Americans United for Life, told StateLine, "I think that it is better policy in January 2006 to be passing legislation that can be enforced and that can protect women and minors from the physical and psychological risks of abortion."
He said states should look to passing laws like parental notification, informed consent requirements or other measures designed to reduce abortions.
Such laws have been credited with significantly lowering abortions and some states are seeing their lowest abortion totals since Roe.
Should states approve wholesale abortion bans, he worries they will be overturned by the courts and further entrench Roe v. Wade as a legal precedent.
"It’s as predictable as the sun rising tomorrow at 7:04" that the proposed bans, if enacted, would be struck down, he explained.
In the 1990s, Utah and Louisiana approved abortion bans, which were overturned by lower courts. The cases were appealed to the Supreme Court, but were not heard.
South Dakota state Sen. Brock Greenville, a pro-life Republican, agreed.
He told StateLine he also worries that losing a lengthy court battle would force South Dakota taxpayers to foot the six-figure legal bill that pro-abortion attorneys will rack up during the case.
"That defeats the purpose, if our state is writing checks to people who are on the opposite side," he said.
Other pro-life groups have suggested that pro-life advocates should continue to focus their energies on the obtaining a pro-life majority on the Supreme Court.
That means supporting the next nominee, if President Bush has an opportunity for another selection and the nominee is receptive to overturning Roe. It also means supporting pro-life candidates for the Senate in the 2006 elections and a pro-life presidential candidate in 2008.