Arkansas' 12-wk abortion ban moves forward, Kansas house bans sex-selective abortions, and more
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 20, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – As the U.S. Senate and the presidency remain in hostile hands, the pro-life movement has largely looked to the states for additional successes.
A panel has approved a measure to prohibit abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The measure, known as the “heartbeat” bill, was introduced by State Senator Jason Rapert, R-Conway. The House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee passed the bill by an 11-5 vote, with two Democrats joining all the committee's Republicans in supporting the measure. The panel had previously passed a fetal pain bill cutting off abortions beyond the 20-week mark on the basis of fetal pain. Both measures include exceptions for rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. Democratic Governor Mike Beebe has said the heartbeat bill may be unconstitutional but has not unequivocally said that he will veto it. Earlier this month, he signed a bill stating that the state's insurance exchange, set up under ObamaCare, will not cover abortion.
Alabama abortion facilities will have to meet greater health and safety measures if a bill that passed the state house on Tuesday becomes law. The Women's Health and Safety Act requires a doctor licensed within the state to be present during an abortion. The doctor must also have admitting privileges within the metropolitan area. The facility must meet the same building codes as other ambulatory health facilities. The bill also mandates that personnel report all reported incidents of statutory rape. "This truly is a women's rights bill," said the bill's sponsor, State Representative Mary Sue McClurkin. But Planned Parenthood Southeast Vice President of Public Policy Nikema Williams said the bill is unnecessary, because “abortion already is one of the safest medical procedures for women.” The Alabama House passed the bill by a 73-23 vote. It now moves to the state senate.
The state senate passed a bill making sex-selective abortion a crime in Kansas. The senate approved the measure by voice vote, so a tally or a given senator's vote is unknown. ““The concept of aborting a baby just because it is a little girl or a little boy is very concerning,” said Sen. Garrett Love, a Republican who supported the measure. “Sex-selection abortions are wrong.” The bill is expected to pass the House and become law.
Sen. Marco Rubio introduced the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, making it illegal to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion without parental notification. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL, is sponsoring its companion bill in the House of Representatives. Already 35 states have similar legislation on the books.
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The health care landscape came to the fore in Michigan, where State Senator Mark Jansen is attempting to ban state insurers from covering elective abortion as a bundled component of their typical plan. Under his plan, individuals would have to purchase a separate abortion rider to an existing policy. Republican Governor Rick Snyder has vetoed Jansen's previous bill with the same intent.
A former state leader of Barack Obama's re-election campaign is heading up the push to legalize same-sex “marriage” in Ohio. Greg Schultz directed the 2012 campaign in the pivotal swing state. Now the former state director of Obama for America is working with a group calling itself FreedomOhio to overturn the state's 2004 constitutional amendment protecting marriage via ballot initiative. The 2004 initiative passed with 62 percent of the vote.
Washington governor Jay Inslee told a crowd of 250 pro-abortion demonstrators he wants legislators to pass the Reproductive Parity Act, a pending bill that would force insurance companies that pay for prenatal care to also cover abortion. The bill, which effectively places parenthood and termination of the unborn on an equally subsidized footing, seeks to assure abortion will be covered under the state insurance exchanges set up by ObamaCare beginning in 2014. The federal health care act allowed states to opt out of such coverage. The bill is strongly supported by Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, Legal Voice, the National Organization for Women, the ACLU, and certain liberal clergy members.