Pro-Life News: Florida, Montana, Ireland, Utah, Idaho, Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 16, 2011   |   8:29PM   |   Washington, DC

The following are pro-life news updates from across the country and around the world.

Florida Bill Would Ban Some Abortions Based on Fetal Pain

Tallahassee, FL — State Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami has filed a bill based on scientific evidence that would ban abortions if the age of the unborn baby is 20 weeks or more. The proposed bill, to be titled the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” notes  that “by 20 weeks after fertilization there is substantial evidence that an unborn child has the physical structures necessary to experience pain.”

Scientific support for what Trujillo’s bill calls “substantial evidence,” fairly conclusive. In 2010, Mary Spaulding Balch — National Right to Life Committee director of state legislation — heralded the passage of similar legislation in Nebraska that prohibits abortion after 20 weeks. She said the committee expected more states to join Nebraska.

Montana House Kills Abortion-Ultrasound Bill

Helena, MT — A proposal to allow an ultrasound for women seeking an abortion failed in the state legislature on Friday. The bill sparked extended emotional debate over an always controversial issue, with even a handful of Republicans joining Democrats in opposing the measure. Sharp opposition also came from several Democrats, including Rep. Diane Sands. Rep. Robyn Driscoll, D-Billings, introduced a disingenuous amendment, which was defeated, to require men to undergo an electrocardiogram before receiving erectile dysfunction drugs.

Rep. Pat Ingraham, R-Thompson Falls, argued her proposal to order the ultrasound was necessary because seeing the ultrasound of the baby is something women aren’t given a chance to see before abortions. “What do you think happens when you abort the baby?” Rep. Wendy Warburton asked the House.

But opposition from other Republicans, including Walter McNutt of Sidney, appeared to tip the scales against the bill, which failed in a 53-47 vote.

Idaho Senate Moves Assisted Suicide Ban Forward

Boise, ID — An Idaho Senate panel moved forward with two plans from the pro-life  group Idaho Chooses Life (ICL) that would ban assisted suicide and prevent abortion from being part of medical plans in the federal health care reform.

Legislation outlawing assisted suicide now heads to the Senate for a full vote. The limit on abortion in insurance plans faces a hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee. ICL Executive Director David Ripley urged the committee to approve both plans during a Wednesday meeting.

“There was this potential threat that we had to deal with,” Ripley said. “I think we have very strong pro-life leadership in the Senate and House.”

The assisted suicide ban would punish anyone who causes someone to commit or attempt to commit suicide or intentionally helps a person commit suicide. It is supported by the Idaho Medical Association (IMA), which represents doctors in the state, in part because it includes a safe harbor that would protect doctors who follow general medical practices, including following patients’ end-of-life directives or prescribing palliative care that could hasten or increase the likelihood of death.
Ireland Labour Party Accused of ‘Rank Hypocrisy’ on Abortion

Dublin, Ireland — Labour Party leader, Eamon Gilmore stated recently that, if elected to Government, his party would legislate to make abortion available in Ireland. Mr Gilmore said the Labour Party supported abortion in certain circumstances.

Responding to his comments, Dr Ruth Cullen of the Pro Life Campaign said: “The Labour Party’s position on abortion actually appears quite restrictive until you examine it closely. In reality there is no question that, if legislated for, it would be abortion on demand in this country. For example, the Labour Party completely ignores the distinction between necessary medical treatments in pregnancy and abortion, where the baby is intentionally killed. Its policy is almost identical to the grounds on which abortion was introduced in Britain and we know that has led to abortion on demand up to birth. Quite frankly, it is rank hypocrisy for Labour to claim to be a defender of the most marginalised in society while at the same time having a policy that ignores the humanity of the unborn child throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy.”

Utah Bill Would Allow Doctors to Refuse to Do Abortions

Salt Lake City, UT — A Utah lawmaker has introduced two new bills that would allow doctors to refuse to perform abortions based on religious or moral grounds. Republican Rep. Carl Wimmer of Herriman says House Bill 353, introduced Monday, gives doctors more rights.

Wimmer, who is sponsoring three abortion-related bills this session, says the proposal would bar clinics from firing doctors solely based on their refusal to perform abortions. Wimmer also introduced House Bill 354 this week, which would limit government funds going toward for abortions unless the abortion is necessary to avoid death or other extreme health risks.