Despite the coronavirus shutdowns and limited legislative sessions, 13 states still made protections for unborn babies a priority in 2020.
A new report from Americans United for Life recently highlighted the life-saving laws and resolutions that state lawmakers passed this year – doing what they could to end the human rights abuse of abortion against unborn babies in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
According to Americans United for Life, 13 states passed 19 pro-life laws in 2020, including measures to require abortion facilities to give mothers accurate information and to protect underage girls from secret abortions without a parent’s knowledge or consent.
“While state lawmakers hit the ground running in January, pursuing dozens of life-affirming bills, efforts stalled in March when the COVID-19 global pandemic prematurely ended the legislative sessions in most states,” the pro-life organization said.
Thankfully, the shutdowns meant that states also passed fewer pro-abortion laws; only Virginia and the District of Columbia voted to expand abortions, AUL noted. Currently, Massachusetts also is considering a last-minute amendment tacked onto its budget that would expand late-term abortions in the state.
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The states that passed pro-life laws were: Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Idaho and Utah passed legislation that would ban abortions when Roe v. Wade is overturned or the U.S. Supreme Court allows states to begin protecting unborn babies again, according to the report.
Three other state legislatures passed bills to protect newborns from infanticide, but only the one in West Virginia became law. The governors of Kentucky and Wyoming vetoed the Born-Alive Infant Protection Acts in their states.
Meanwhile, Florida passed a law to strengthen parental involvement when an underage girl has an abortion. The state now requires a minor to have a parent’s consent prior to aborting her unborn baby. Such laws not only protect young girls and their babies from abortion, but they also can help prevent and expose sexual abuse.
Four other states, Alaska, Iowa, Kansas and Kentucky, moved forward with ballot initiatives and constitutional amendments to protect unborn babies, according to the report.
Meanwhile, Louisiana voters just overwhelmingly passed a pro-life amendment to their constitution on Nov. 3. It states, “To protect human life, nothing in this constitution shall be construed to protect a right to abortion or the tax payer funding of abortion.”
Pro-life laws do save lives. Americans United for Life pointed to research by Dr. Michael New, professor of social research and political science at the Catholic University of America and associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute. New’s research found a direct correlation between increasing the number of state pro-life laws and reducing the number of abortions.
As a result, “the national abortion rate continues its downward trend, and it is now the lowest rate since 1973, when Roe v. Wade legalized abortion,” the pro-life organization said.
There were 862,320 abortions in the U.S. in 2017, down from a high of about 1.5 million annually in the early 1990s, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
The declining abortion rate comes as states pass a record number of pro-life laws. In 2019, the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute reported 33 states passed a record 479 pro-life laws since 2011. To put that number into perspective, states have passed 1,271 pro-life laws since 1973 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade. This means more than one third of all pro-life laws in the U.S. were approved in the past decade.
However, the abortion industry is challenging many of these laws in court. Because of Roe v. Wade, states have very limited power to protect unborn babies and mothers from abortions.
Many state lawmakers recognize that their constituents want unborn babies to be protected.
Polls consistently show strong support of abortion restrictions. A 2019 Hill-HarrisX survey found that 55 percent of voters said they do not think laws banning abortions after six weeks – when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable – are too restrictive.
Another poll out of Harvard University found that just 6 percent of Americans said abortions should be allowed “up until the birth of the child,” while 8 percent said they should be permitted up to the third trimester. It also found that a majority of Americans want the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade.