Kansas passes robust conscience law; Ohio kills Personhood bill; Texas must fund Planned Parenthood
May 4, 2012, LifeSiteNews.com) – The pro-life movement continues to move forward in state legislatures across the country – with occasional set-backs from its friends, as well as its enemies.
Kansas is one step closer to affording its pro-life physicians and pharmacists greater conscience rights. On Wednesday, the state senate passed a robust pro-life bill, which includes the right for pharmacists to refuse to distribute abortifacient drugs, by a 23-16 vote. The measure would make it easier to sue abortionists for malpractice, as well. The Huffington Post noted, “A wrongful death suit could be filed in the event of a woman’s death.”
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Governor Sam Brownback is expected to sign the law. It will take effect on July 1. The state’s flurry of pro-life legislation has reduced the number of abortions performed in Kansas by one-third.
Republican leaders in Ohio have shelved the Personhood bill. State Senate President Tom Niehaus said the bill may be unconstitutional. He accused the measure’s supporters of making “exaggerated and inflammatory statements” in their attempts to get their bill a hearing. “Their claim that we ‘lose more than a school bus full of children every day’ due to a lack of Senate action on the bill is simply false, and I will not continue to allow this organization to question the commitment of my colleagues to ending the scourge of abortion. Ohio Senate Republicans have done more in the past 16 months to advance the protection of unborn children than any previous General Assembly in state’s history,” Niehaus wrote.
The bill’s strongest state supporter, Faith2Action based in North Royalton, rejects the allegations. Its president, Janet Porter, responded, “Using a very conservative estimate, based on the annual number of Ohio abortions, the Heartbeat Bill would, indeed, save 26,000 babies each year—more than 70 each day—which is more than can fit into any school bus.”
“While it is true that the Senate has passed several regulatory bills, every Senator who ran on a pro-life platform promised to vote to end abortions, not merely regulate them,” she added.
Right to Life founder Dr. Jack Wilke has publicly supported the Personhood bill.
The state of Texas’ on-again/off-again funding of Planned Parenthood is on again, at least for now. On Friday, a three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the state must continue payments to the nation’s largest abortion provider until its case is settled. That overturns a decision made Tuesday by one of its own members, Judge Jerry Smith, that Texas could withhold taxpayer dollars during the trial. Judge Smith’s ruling, in turn, overturned a ruling from U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel forcing Texas to fund Planned Parenthood through its Women’s Health Program during litigation.
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Senate Democrats are trying to restore state funding for Planned Parenthood and taxpayer-funded abortion in Iowa. The House passed a bill reducing revenues for Planned Parenthood and limiting Medicaid coverage of abortions to cases when the mother’s life is at risk. Currently, the state also pays for the procedure if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. Senate Democrats want to restore that money.
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