In spite of the impact of the Covid-19 enforced shutdown, significant gains for the pro-life movement in the 2020 state legislative session

By Ingrid Duran, NRL Director of State Legislation 

Editor’s note. This appeared in the July digital edition of National Right to Life News. Please read the entire 45-page issue and share with your pro-life family and friends.

Even during a pandemic, the pro-life voice is still present in the 2020 state legislative session.  When I last wrote, I was skeptical that pro-life bills would move, much less be enacted, since almost every state had moved into a mandatory shutdown. 

So color me very pleasantly surprised that the results are otherwise!

It is no secret that pro-life laws save lives, which is why our opposition habitually challenge common sense laws such as parental involvement and any law designed to inform and empower women by proving vital information. This is also the reason why pro-abortionists vehemently oppose legislation that keeps the unborn baby in the debate. They employ medical jargon to keep women in the dark about their baby’s ability to experience pain or the truth of what occurs during hideous dismemberment abortions.

Florida’s pro-life Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed a parental consent law. Under this new legislation, abortion facilities must secure the consent of the parent or guardian of Florida minors under the age of 18.  Parental involvement laws have demonstrated their positive impacts by lowering the abortion rate and teenage pregnancy rate and have held overwhelming public support in polling data.

Iowa’s pro-life Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill providing that an abortion-vulnerable woman wait at least 24 hours after an initial appointment. At that appointment, the woman would be given the opportunity to view an ultrasound scan of her baby.

Why waiting periods? So as to provide women seeking abortions some time to reflect after they’ve received their state informed consent materials. These materials typically include information on the developing unborn baby, resource centers for pregnant mothers, and risks associated with abortion, and alternatives to abortion. 

Previously, Iowa had enacted a 72 hour waiting period but it was ultimately blocked and struck down by the Iowa Supreme Court in 2018. Thus it was not surprising that after Gov. Reynolds signed this bill into law, it was immediately challenged in court. However, there has been a major turnover on the state’s highest court.

Two states passed laws preventing discriminatory abortions of unborn children due to their sex, race, or if the unborn child has a Down syndrome diagnosis or potential diagnosis for Down syndrome.  A poll conducted earlier this year found “65% of Americans, including 50% of those who identify as pro-choice, oppose abortion because of the possibility an unborn child may have Down syndrome.”  

Mississippi’s Governor Tate Reeves signed their Life Equality Act into law earlier this month. The law bans abortion because of the baby’s race, sex, disability, or genetic makeup. 

In Tennessee, their anti-discrimination bill was part of Gov. Bill Lee’s omnibus bill. It also included an early abortion ban. If that is not upheld, the measure on goes on to automatically enact abortion bans at eight, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24 weeks of gestation,” according to the Tennessean.

The new law includes one of NRLC’s priority bills: abortion pill reversal. APR has saved over 900 babies since the protocol was initiated. This provides abortion-minded women with information and resources informing them that it is possible to reverse the two-step chemical abortion process should she change her mind after ingesting mifepristone, the first drug.  Gov. Lee plans to sign the bill and portions of this bill have already been challenged in court by ACLU-Tennessee.

There could be three states with pro-life referendums on the ballot this November.  In Michigan, the Bureau of Elections is examining the validity of the more than 370,000 petitions and names collected and submitted for another NRLC priority law: protecting unborn children from dismemberment abortion.  

Michigan has a unique citizen-generated legislation. Provided the petitions are validated, the Michigan Legislature will have 40 days to consider the dismemberment ban, which after successful majority votes will become law without pro-abortion Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s signature. Initiated legislation that isn’t passed into law is placed on the general election ballot for a public vote. Until the Bureau of Elections reaches a decision, we will not know if Michigan voters will see this question on the ballot.

In Louisiana, there is a Love Life Amendment to amend the Louisiana Constitution. If passed, it states that there is no right to abortion or taxpayer funding of abortion in the state constitution.  

In Colorado, Initiative 120 will be on the November 3 ballot. Initiative 120 bans abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy [“20 weeks fetal age”), a point in the developing unborn baby’s life where she is capable of feeling the intense pain of being aborted.  

Lastly, pro-life Missouri Gov, Mike Parsons signed a bill recently allocating over $6 million dollars to their Alternatives to Abortion program. These programs are essential for mothers looking for resources when they are facing challenging times in their lives so they can choose life.

Clearly, in spite of the impact of the Covid-19 enforced shutdown, there were some significant gains for the pro-life movement in the 2020 state legislative session.