By Ingrid Duran, Director of State Legislation, National Right to Life Committee
It seems like this legislative session has already lasted an eternity and yet we are only mid-March. While I typically like to report all of the strides that pro-life lawmakers are making everywhere, I want to start on a somber note and then conclude with the progress that we are making.
To make sure it has the most P.R. impact, New York chose January 22 to celebrate not only the willful destruction of unborn children but also the removal of protections for abortion survivors.
The so-called Reproductive Health Act is an extreme abortion-on-demand law that: removes the requirement that only physicians can perform abortion allowing nurse practitioners to also perform abortions; expands when abortions can be performed past the 24 weeks up until birth (it did so by adding a loose “health” exception that includes the pregnant woman’s mental well-being); and repeals protection for babies who survive abortion attempts.
If that weren’t bad enough, the RHA removed protections from criminal acts of violence against a pregnant woman’s unborn child. Even “wanted” babies have lost all legal protection. All this, we were told, merely “codified” Roe v. Wade, dishonest even by pro-abortion standards.
Then, like an infectious disease, this idea began spreading to other state legislatures. Similar measures have been introduced in Illinois, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.
Maryland was going to introduce a constitutional amendment enshrining a right to kill babies in their state constitution. Fortunately that was withdrawn but promises to return next session.
In Virginia, the pro-life movement, led by our affiliate Virginia Society for Human Life, initiated a successful and informative awareness campaign and lobbied intensely against the “Repeal Act” on behalf of the unborn. As a result, Del. Kathy Tran’s bill to legalize abortion through all “40 weeks” failed. Virginians made it clear; they did not want to be the next New York.
Unfortunately, in Rhode Island and Vermont, these radical bills have passed one chamber of their legislature. In both cases, the governor has promised to sign the bills if they sent to them.
Three quick things the reader can do right now to help advance the pro-life cause and help prevent this malady from spreading: 1) Donate to National Right to Life. 2) Get involved with our state affiliate and spread the message, get involved by contacting your local representatives and let them know that you are opposed to abortion on demand laws. 3) Educate yourselves by going to www.nrlc.org/stopabortion/ and stay updated and sign up to receive breaking news from National Right to Life News Today.
Another problem cropping up in various state legislatures are the doctor-prescribed death laws, also known as assisted suicide or physician-assisted suicide.
As of mid-March, 14 states have introduced bills to make it possible for physicians to prescribe lethal drugs for their “patients.” They include Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Utah. Earlier this month, the Maryland House approved HB 399– a bill legalizing suicide–by a vote of 74-66.
Our state affiliates, along with other groups and medical professionals, are on the front lines educating the public why these are dangerous bills, why “safeguards” do not work (and indeed, cannot work, given the way the laws are written), and testifying eloquently at hearings.
Now that we have the bad news out of the way, here is the good news. We have introduced many bills—and the current legislative session isn’t over in most states. We are still creating waves and passing laws that effectively protect unborn children. You can still help.
Six states (Indiana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Washington) have introduced NRLC’s top priority piece of legislation–the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. This law protects living unborn children from being torn apart limb by limb by dismemberment abortion, a horrific abortion technique that culminates with the child bleeding to death.
So far 10 states have already passed a law protecting unborn children from being dismembered. This legislative session, Indiana passed the bill in its House (71-25), and North Dakota did likewise in its House (78-13).
Five states (Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, and Washington) have introduced NRLC’s model Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This legislation protects from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain. Substantial medical evidence demonstrates that unborn children are capable of experiencing pain certainly by 20 weeks, if not earlier.
In early March, legislative hearings were held and excellent testimony was provided by pro-lifers in Delaware and Maryland.
In Missouri, the House passed an omnibus bill containing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act by a vote of 117-39.
NRLC is encouraging more states to follow in their footsteps.
Prior to this legislative session, 16 states had passed pain-capable laws.
The Abortion Pill Reversal Information Act is another lifesaving, protective piece of legislation. This law makes it possible for abortion-minded women to give true informed consent by providing them with information that should they change their mind, there is a serious chance of reversing a chemical abortion.
So far in the 2019 session six states have introduced the Abortion Pill Reversal Information Act: Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Carolina, and North Dakota. (Arkansas has a law but is amending it to strengthen the current law.) So far the bill has passed one chamber in Arkansas, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.
Currently five states have laws that provide women with this life-saving information.
So you see for every extreme pro abortion-on-demand bill that gets introduced, the pro-life movement counters with more than double the number of bills. However, pro-abortionists want to block our legislation as well as pass their own. We need your help to protect the innocent and vulnerable.
Please continue to support our efforts and stay involved. Your support, encouragement, and prayers are appreciated and needed now more than ever as we fight this culture of death and destruction.