State legislatures across the country have delivered some tremendous pro-life victories this year. Spurred by the tireless efforts of pro-life advocates urging legislators to protect unborn children and expand resources for new and pregnant mothers, the victories show that regular contact with legislators makes a difference. Let’s look at some recent pro-life legislative successes and review the threats we have to face from abortion advocates.
On April 14, Florida’s pro-life governor Ron DeSantis signed the “Pregnancy and Parental Support Act,” which protects unborn children from abortion at 6 weeks gestation, when a baby’s heartbeat can be detected. The law requires the state health department to fund parenting support services, pregnancy services, and material support (like diapers, parenting classes, counseling). Florida Right to Life’s president, Lynda Bell, said it best: “Pro-abortion groups lose the debate when they say we don’t care about women because this bill provides over $25 million in support for women and girls in an unexpected pregnancy. We Floridians value unborn children and their mothers.”
On April 5, pro-lifers won a first-of-its-kind victory when Idaho became the first state to make illegal abortion trafficking of minors. The bill, signed by Governor Brad Little after an exemplary effort by Right to Life of Idaho, makes it a crime for an adult to transport a pregnant minor within the state of Idaho for the purpose of obtaining an abortion with the intent to conceal the abortion from the minor child’s parents or guardian (the new law is based on NRLC’s model law).
Kerry Uhlenkott, executive director of Right to Life of Idaho said, “We are so grateful to [Gov. Little] and to all of you who testified for this legislation, who sent emails, made calls and especially prayed for passage and enactment of this protective legislation.” This victory wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of pro-lifers.
Kansas’ legislature successfully overrode vetoes of three pro-life measures by pro-abortion Governor Laura Kelly. The “Born-Alive Infants Protection Act” requires healthcare providers to render the same degree of medical care to an infant that survives an abortion as any newborn of the same gestational age. Another veto overridden was on the Abortion Pill Reversal (APR) consent law, which requires a woman be told that a chemical abortion may be reversible. Finally, the legislature overrode the veto of $2m allocation of state funds to establish the “Alternatives to Abortion” (A2A) program, which provides resources and promotes childbirth to women facing unplanned pregnancies.
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“Not only did they have the courage to stand against the Governor’s extremist views on abortion and infanticide, but ensured women are provided with potentially life-saving information and compassionate abortion alternatives,” said Jeanne Gawdun, Kansans for Life Director of Government Relations, of the legislature’s efforts.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed into law a bill that protects unborn children from abortion throughout gestation. He also signed a bill making it a crime to coerce a woman into get an abortion, and a bill to clarify the state’s trigger and heartbeat laws. Another bill signed gives tax exemptions to encourage adoptions, to purchase diapers, and for donating to maternity homes, child placing agencies, or pregnancy help centers. North Dakota Right to Life: “This (tax credit) bill has been chosen to be rated (by us) due to its importance in promoting a culture of life and encouraging alternatives to abortion.”
Our pro-life work goes on, though, as pro-abortion forces continue to promote abortion-on-demand in any way. Several state legislatures have enacted “shield laws,” which protect abortionists and those who aid in abortions; governors in Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Washington have recently signed such bills.
Colorado’s governor signed a “Deceptive Trade Practice” bill, which targets what abortion advocates label as “deceitful” and “manipulative” practices committed by pro-life entities like pregnancy resource centers. In particular, the bill says that pro-life entities participate in “deception” when advertising abortion pill reversal (APR), calling it a “dangerous and deceptive practice that is not supported by science or clinical standards.”
But, with over 4,000 babies saved by APR, who is being deceitful? Colorado has said they will not enforce the new law against any “licensee” (of APR) “in the immediate future,” but we will keep watch on this law and others that to not fully protect mothers and their unborn children.
LifeNews Note: Casey Romanoff Coffin is the Legislative Assistant at the Department of State Legislation for National Right to Life.