By Ingrid Duran, Senior State Legislative Analyst
In 2013 pro-lifers witnessed the second inauguration of an extremely pro-abortion President and as the year unfolded read detailed accounts of the horrendous practices of abortionist Kermit Gosnell who was eventually convicted of three counts of first-degree murder.
With this—and so much more—as background and motivation, pro-lifers wasted no time renewing their efforts to protect unborn children through legislation at a state level.
Three more states passed NRLC’s own model “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” keeping the focus on the humanity and pain capability of the unborn child. Arkansas, North Dakota, and Texas enacted the measure, raising to ten the number of states that recognize that beginning at 20 weeks fetal age (if not earlier), the baby will experience excruciating pain when subjected to typical late abortion procedures.
The Texas debate made national headlines when pro-abortion Texas state Senator (and now gubernatorial candidate) Wendy Davis conducted an 11-hour filibuster which temporarily halted passage. But undeterred, pro-life Governor Rick Perry called a second special session which passed HB2.
Wisconsin passed Sonya’s law which enables the pregnant mother to view an ultrasound of her unborn child prior to having an abortion performed. The law also requires abortionists to have admitting privileges to local hospitals.
This latter component has been temporarily halted by a lawsuit but the ultrasound provision–this ”window to the womb”–is in effect. Now mothers will be fully informed on the development of their baby prior to deciding whether or not to abort.
North Dakota also passed an admitting privileges law. Seven states addressed the effort (primarily of Planned Parenthood clinics) to dispense the two-drug RU486 chemical abortion cocktail via web-cam in which the abortionist is never in the same room as the pregnant woman.
Now Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, and Texas require that the abortionist be in the same room as the mother.
In response to the state exchanges that are part of Obamacare, four states (Arkansas, Michigan, North Carolina, & Pennsylvania) have passed laws that protect taxpayers from subsidizing abortion by allowing them to “opt” out of the state exchanges.
In addition to these laws which received most of the media attention, pro-life lobbyists were engaged in enacting other types of protective laws in 2013.
Kansas passed an omnibus bill that prevented sex-selection abortions. North Carolina and North Dakota also enacted a sex-selection ban.
Moreover, Kansas passed a bill that banned so-called wrongful life/birth lawsuits. The measure also expanded the ability of parents to sue for the wrongful death of an unborn child, so that such suits can be filed on behalf of a child throughout gestation, not just after viability.
Montana enacted two pro-life measures: one recognizing the unborn child as a separate victim from its mother if she is the victim of an attack; and the other law requiring parental consent before a girl under 18 undergoes an abortion.
Oklahoma was also instrumental in passing several pro-life laws. One amended the state’s parental involvement law to require notice of at least one parent prior to an abortion. If the minor girl wants to proceed with the abortion, she would need a parent’s consent or a judicial bypass. Oklahoma also amended its reporting law to incorporate requirements relating to new pro-life laws which have been passed since the original reporting law was enacted.
Even in politically challenging times, hope can be seen in the efforts of pro-lifers nationwide. The 2013 legislative session was indeed busy, and 2014 holds the promise of a renewed effort to continue to protect life.
After all, we are pro-life warriors and warriors never give up.