The U.S. Supreme Court announced last month that it will take up, in its 2021-2022 term, the major Mississippi abortion case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which will test the fate of pre-viability abortions.
For decades, states have put guardrails in place to protect women and children in their state from the exploitive abortion industry, and 2021 is turning out to be a banner year for pro-life protections.
Should the Supreme Court side with life in Dobbs, which I hope it will, the question of limits on pre-viability abortion will return to the states.
Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules in June 2022, states are continuing at record pace to advance and enact commonsense laws that protect and support moms and their babies, especially in the face of the most pro-abortion administration our nation has ever faced.
I researched state bills that contain at least one pro-life provision that have been enacted or advanced in each state so far this year. The bottom line? There are nearly 500 pro-life bills (or bills containing at least one pro-life provision) that have been advanced from January through May. Many of those bills contain multiple pro-life provisions.
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Other counts tally the number of provisions in each bill, instead of just the total bills. Those counts lead to counting some bills multiple times, but failing to capture other bills with important pro-life provisions.
The most active states advancing pro-life bills (or bills containing at least one pro-life provision) in 2021 were Texas, West Virginia, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Minnesota, Arizona, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Oklahoma.
Nearly 1 in 5 bills advanced this year were enacted, and a whopping 89 pro-life bills or bills containing at least one pro-life provision were enacted across 26 states—that is, in more than half of the states in America.
Arkansas led the way by enacting 19 pro-life laws, followed by South Dakota and Montana with seven laws each, and by Oklahoma and Indiana with six laws each.
The laws enacted show a diversity of approaches to pro-life legislation.
There are many ways that states can be pro-life in the way that they support mothers and children. Some of the laws enacted renew funding for abortion alternatives, pregnancy support, or health care support for moms. Others prohibit the funding of abortion or of research using aborted baby body parts, or abortion coverage in health insurance exchange plans.
Another law prohibits the trafficking of baby body parts for unethical fetal tissue research.
Still others prohibit abortion referrals by pharmacists and midwives, or in schools or sex education programs.
There are laws that ban sex- or race-selective abortions, or abortions due to a prenatal disability diagnosis or screening. There are laws that prohibit abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected or when an unborn child can feel pain.
There are informed-consent laws that give mothers the full truth about their pregnancies, including the option to view their ultrasounds, know the physical risks of abortion, and know that it’s possible to reverse a chemical abortion if they changes their mind soon after taking the first abortion drug.
Other laws regulate the unbridled abortion industry by putting more licensing requirements in place for abortion facilities and abortion providers, requiring more stringent abortion reporting, and prohibiting dangerous chemical abortion drugs from being distributed by telehealth.
There are laws that protect infants born alive during a failed abortion. There are also safe haven laws that allow women to safely and anonymously place their babies for adoption by surrendering them in newborn safety devices at local hospitals or fire departments.
Other pro-life laws include tax credits for people who adopt or become foster parents and tax credits for donating to eligible charitable organizations (excluding those organizations that perform or refer for abortions).
One Utah law requires a biological father to pay 50% of the mother’s pregnancy expenses, unless the mother undergoes an abortion without the biological father’s consent.
Another law protects against wrongful-birth or wrongful-life claims. Still another law protects the right of medical practitioners, health care institutions, and health care payers from having to participate in anything to which they have a conscientious medical objection, such as participating in abortions.
Lastly, there are state laws that honor unborn babies. Three states have passed “Day of Tears” legislation to commemorate the more than 61 million unborn children who lost their lives to abortion in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade in 1973 and to encourage their residents to lower their flags to half-staff on Jan. 22 (the anniversary of Roe) in mourning.
Two states have passed requirements for the disposition of the baby’s remains either by burial or cremation after an abortion. Another law honors the work of pregnancy centers and still another affirms the right of a municipality to become a pro-life city. In fact, there are now 29 cities that have declared themselves “sanctuary cities for the unborn,” outlawing abortion within their city limits by local ordinance.
The Biden administration continues to reverse pro-life protections and institute radical pro-abortion policies both domestically and abroad, including by rescinding the Mexico City policy and now trying to dismantle the Hyde Amendment. For 44 years, the latter has prohibited taxpayer funding of abortion with bipartisan support.
Meanwhile, states are acting at a faster pace than ever before to put laws in place that build a culture of life and support both women and their children.
If the Supreme Court rules for Dobbs, America will be well-prepared to usher in a post-Roe era.
LifeNews Note: Arina Grossu is a scholar, writer, and speaker on sanctity of human life and bioethics issues. She is a guest contributor at the Charlotte Lozier Institute. She has worked with the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family.