By Dave Andrusko
It is a most welcome annual occurrence. As we approach the next state legislative session, national publications will write about how (as The Hill put it this week) “Abortion foes plot wave of legislation in the states.”
Reid Wilson begins this way
Opponents of abortion rights are planning to push a raft of new rules and restrictions after their allies scored big wins in state legislative chambers and gubernatorial races.
While we pay most attention to federal elections—to Congress and to the presidency— it is at the state level where in recent years wave after way of pro-life laws have come rushing in. And as we have posted previously, pro-lifers made huge gains in the November 8 elections.
Wilson begins his story where he should: by quoting Ingrid Duran, director of state legislation for the National Right to Life Committee (and a great help to NRL News Today).
“It’s definitely going to be a busy session,” Duran told The Hill. “Right now is the time that our affiliates are shaping their legislative agendas and what they’d like to see passed.”
At the top of the list for National Right to Life affiliates is passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (already the law in 14 states) and the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act (on the books in Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana).
Both are based on NRLC model legislation.
Wilson observes, “[A]s Republicans have made steady gains in legislatures across the country, the anti-abortion rights movement has notched a series of victories. Since 2011, the year Republicans took over scores of state legislative seats after the 2010 midterms, 334 measures restricting abortion rights have passed in 32 states across the country. Forty-four were enacted in 2016 alone, according to a tally by the Guttmacher Institute.” (Pro-abortion to the core, the Guttmacher Institute was formerly Planned Parenthood’s think tank.)
“I think conservatives have been emboldened by the election,” said Elizabeth Nash, a state-level policy analyst at the Guttmacher Institute.”
The significance of the election of pro-life President Donald Trump has not escaped pro-abortionists working in state legislatures. Wilson notes
There are fewer opportunities for Democratic-led states to advance abortion rights, and most activists who favor those rights say their focus is likely to be dominated by the fight over President-elect [Trump who] told CBS’s “60 Minutes” earlier this month that he would appoint anti-abortion rights judges who would then send the question of whether abortion should be legal back to the states.
To be clear what Mr. Trump said was he would nominate pro-life justices in the mold of the late Antonin Scalia and if Roe v. Wade was overturned, the states would write their own abortion statutes, exactly what was the case prior to Roe and its 1973 companion decision, Doe v. Bolton.