State Report Finds 60 Pro-Life Measures Enacted on Abortion, Bioethics in 2009

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 22, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

State Report Finds 60 Pro-Life Measures Enacted on Abortion, Bioethics in 2009

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 22
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A new report of pro-life activity in state legislatures found lawmakers nationwide enacted 60 pro-life measures on abortion and bioethics issues during the 2009 legislative session. They ranged from a comprehensive bill in Arizona to Louisiana providing $1.5 million to pregnancy centers.

Americans United for Life released their 2009 State Legislative Session Report and said it confirms that the majority of states continue to successfully pursue and implement a life-affirming legislative agenda.

"Clearly, we are making progress at the state level — law by law and state by state — to protect and defend life," AUL president Charmaine Yoest told "We are encouraged by the progress that has been made in 2009 and enthusiastically look forward to working with pro-life legislators to advance pro-life legislation and policies in 2010."

According to the report, state legislatures considered 300 abortion-related measures, the vast majority of them life-affirming, and virtually every state considered at least one pro-life measure.

That 60 measures were approved is notable given that there was a nearly one-third decline in the number of pro-life measures introduced in the states in 2009, as compared with 2008, due in large part to the economic issues most states faced.

Several states introduced resolutions opposing the federal Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), radical legislation that would enshrine abortion-on-demand into American law and override all federal and state laws regulating or restricting abortion. Meanwhile, attempts in five states to enact a state version of FOCA were handily defeated.

Measures to regulate biotechnologies and to prohibit or restrict technologies that destroy nascent life, such as cloning and embryonic stem cell research, increased by nearly 20% — the first increase in such legislation in three years.

Other states continued to seek to protect the unborn in contexts other than abortion by enacting protections for unborn victims of violence.

For the first time in three years, measures to protect conscience rights for pro-life medical workers outpaced measures to violate or compel conscience by a margin of 2 to 1.

A small number of states, including Missouri, New Jersey, Tennessee, and West Virginia, considered measures declaring that their state constitutions do not encompass a right to abortion and/or a right to state taxpayer funding of abortion. Tennessee’s approved measure carries over to 2010.

At least two states – Alabama and Georgia – considered sweeping bans on abortion and eight states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, and Michigan considered measures to ban partial-birth abortion.

A small number of states including Georgia, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, and Virginia considered constitutional amendments or other measures to define unborn children from the moment of conception as “persons” under state laws.

Despite budgetary shortfalls, a number of states considered measures to fund the life-affirming work of pregnancy care centers and at least 13 states including Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin considered measures providing direct taxpayer subsidies to them.

At least seven states including Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia considered measures to approve “Choose Life” license plate programs, and Virginia approved its bill.

Review the full report at

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