By Ingrid Duran, Director, Department of State Legislation
The 2021 Session has started and pro-lifers have hit the ground running with one question in mind: how can we most effectively protect the most vulnerable members of the human family? That is the mission National Right to Life and its affiliates remain committed to: passing laws that protect unborn children and their mothers and educate the public about the humanity of the unborn child.
We are seeing State Legislatures nationwide promoting NRLC priority bills. For example, there is the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act which protects unborn children from abortion who are capable of feeling pain, around 20 weeks post-fertilization age. It is currently in effect in 15 states.
So far this legislation has been introduced in five states (Florida, Hawaii, Montana, New Jersey, and Oregon). We are early in the legislative calendar, so we anticipate it being introduced in addition states.
The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion is another priority for NRLC. This prohibits a gruesome abortion procedure that kills a living unborn baby by ripping him or her apart, piece by piece in utero.
In 2021, this legislation has been introduced in three states. We expect more legislatures to introduce the bill later in their session.
The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act requires that health care personnel provide medical treatment to any child born alive following an attempted abortion. The bill been filed so far in 14 states: Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa (passed both houses) Minnesota, Missouri, Montana (passed the House), New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota (passed House); Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Other popular legislative proposals that have the ability to save unborn life include the Abortion Pill Reversal (APR) bills. These laws give abortion-minded women information about possibly reversing the intended effects of chemical abortions, if they change their mind after taking mifepristone, the first drug of the two-drug cocktail. So far 5 states have introduced such bills : Indiana, Iowa, Montana (passed its House); and South Carolina. South Dakota is amending its existing law. We anticipate additional legislative action going forward.
The Kansas Legislature recently passed the “Value Them Both” constitutional amendment which will be on a statewide ballot in August 2022. This was necessary after a devastating state Supreme Court ruling found a right to abortion. This could prevent the state from enacting a law that protects unborn children from being dismembered during an abortion. The constitutional amendment clarifies that “the constitution of the state of Kansas does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion.”
Iowa and Kentucky are also working on securing state constitutional amendments. Louisiana passed a similar measure last year.
The evidence is clear. It doesn’t matter if we face four years of a Biden-Harris Administration that is hostile to unborn life, the mission of NRLC and its state affiliates is to stay on the task of effectively protecting unborn babies and their mothers.