Contrasting Pro-life and Pro-abortion views on state legislation

By Dave Andrusko

Guttmacher Institute's Rachel Benson Gold

Guttmacher Institute’s Rachel Benson Gold

No better way to grasp the contours of the state legislative landscape than to ponder the respective perspectives of the Guttmacher Institute, formerly Planned Parenthood’s in-house think tank, and a respected NRLC state affiliate.

Rachel Benson Gold and Elizabeth Nash are familiar Guttmacher figures. In their analysis published Wednesday, we learn that while down from 2011, in 2012 there were the “Second-Highest Number of Abortion Restrictions Ever” enacted. A throwaway line is worth noting. They write, “[N]o laws were enacted in 2012 to facilitate or improve access to abortion, family planning or comprehensive sex education.” Plenty of pro-life action last year at the same time many pro-abortion initiatives were fended off.

To Gold and Nash, not surprising there is nothing that passed that served a single good purpose. For example, laws to require that abortion clinics be licensed and inspected—makes sense, don’t you think?—are nothing more than TRAPs [Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers].

A key line: “Although some of the most high-profile debates occurred around legislation requiring that women seeking an abortion first be forced to undergo an ultrasound or imposing strict regulations on abortion providers, most of the new restrictions enacted in 2012 concerned limits on later abortion, coverage in health insurance exchanges or medication abortion.”

There are five separate considerations to ponder here.

(1) Ultrasounds are standard medical fare in treating pregnant women. The synthetic hysteria ginned up by pro-abortionists in Virginia was a prelude to the rhetoric that dominated the 2012 elections. Requiring what virtually all abortionists already used—ultrasounds–was transmogrified into “rape by instrument.”

(2) The regulations were hardly “strict.” Abortionists like to see themselves as “medical providers.” Okay, that’s the way the laws treat them, holding them to the same health and safety standards as other medical providers.

(3) The “limits on later abortions” refers to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Acts. Its “radical” feature? You can’t tear apart unborn children capable of experiencing pain beyond anything you or I could possible imagine.

(4) What is the reference to “Coverage in health insurance exchanges” alluding to? Under ObamaCare health insurance plans offering abortion coverage are allowed to participate in a state’s exchange and to receive federal subsidies unless the State legislature affirmatively opts-out of allowing plans that cover abortion (or unless a state already has a law preventing health insurance in the state from covering elective abortions, except by a separate rider.)  Specific language in the Obama health care law authorizes the states to ban abortion in the exchanges. 17 states have done so.

(5) “Medication abortion” is chemically-induced abortion—the two-drug RU486 technique. Again the “limitation” is on “webcam” abortions and is for the woman’s safety. The abortionist is never in the room with the woman. He dispenses the RU486 regimen via a video conferencing system. As NRLC President Carol Tobias has said, these webcam abortions are “incredibly dangerous, the woman may bleed to death or come down with a life-threatening infection and the drugs don’t always work, prompting surgery.” And the abortionist is nowhere to be found!

Contrast that hyperbolic exaggeration with a calm and factual op-ed that appeared in Wednesday’s Washington Times written by Pamela Sherstad, who is director of public information and education at Right to Life of Michigan, NRLC’s state affiliate.

The abortion industry fought HB 5711 tooth and nail, indulging [unsuccessfully] in some of the grandstanding ploys that were used more successfully elsewhere. The measure incorporated some of the areas Gold and Nash complained about, and others.

The bill (to quote Sherstad) brought “about long-overdue reform and regulation of the abortion industry. This law also is needed to prevent women from being coerced into abortions, to end the reprehensible practice of disposing of the bodies of aborted babies in garbage cans and to avoid the chemical abortion drug RU-486 from being dispensed via the Internet.”

And if you really want to see pro-abortionist’s blood boil, bring up legislation that requires that women be informed they cannot be coerced into having abortions. They insist this doesn’t exist, or ignore it all together. But as we report regularly (and again today), women are coerced into aborting and sometimes murdered when they refuse.

Would Right to Life of Michigan, like all pro-lifers, want greater protections and limitations? Of course.

But “H.B. 5711 fosters respect for women who are contemplating abortion, while at the same time emphasizing the humanity of the unborn,” Sherstad wrote. “Until abortion is unthinkable, we will continue to foster respect for all human life. Each and every life is worth it.”

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