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Florida bans post-viability abortion, Jindal signs pro-life bills, NH backs pro-life candidate, more

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – While New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's abortion expansion bill remains mired in legislative inaction, pro-life laws have advanced in Florida and Louisiana, requiring doctors to protect babies who could survive outside the womb, obtain admitting privileges, and prevent human traffickers from forcing their victims into coerced abortions.

Florida

Florida abortionists will not be able to abort babies who could survive if they were delivered, under a bill that Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed into law on Friday. The state currently bans abortions after 24 weeks. H.B. 1047 would require a doctor to determine if a baby were able to live outside the womb before performing an abortion. After July 1, such abortions will only be allowed to prevent the mother's death or her severe physical disability. The measure was one of nearly 100 bills that landed on Gov. Scott's desk.

Louisiana

Gov. Bobby Jindal yesterday signed two bills into law designed to protect women and minors from shoddy practices and advice offered by abortion providers. On Thursday, he signed the “Unsafe Abortion Protection Act” (H.B. 388), which requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles and mandates that abortion offices meet the same health and safety standards as other surgical centers. The bill, similar to one passed in neighboring Texas, could close three of the state's five abortion facilities. “Women who resort to the traumatic experience of abortion are entitled to have these procedures performed in a safe environment,” said Rep. Katrina Jackson, an African-American Democrat from Monroe. The new law states that abortionists who perform surgical or medication/chemical abortion (RU-486) must comply with all licensing standards, as well.

Gov. Jindal also signed H.B. 305, barring any person or organization that performs abortions from presenting sex education in public or charter schools. State senators passed the motion on May 27 by a 31-5 vote. Live Action released an expose this week showing a Planned Parenthood employee suggesting an undercover reporter posing as a 15-year-old girl view online pornography, purchase sex toys online, and “work up to” allowing her boyfriend to hit her during intercourse.

On Monday he signed four bills designed to fight human trafficking and curtail their traffickers' ability to force their victims to abort. Abortionists will now have to present women who enter their facilities with information about forced abortions and post the number for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. Penalties for hiring prostitutes are also greatly increased. Soliciting a minor for sexual activity could result in a sentence of 15 to 50 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. "We're not here to just discourage it, to contain it, to reduce its frequency," Jindal told The Advertiser of Lafayette. "We're here to make sure we rid it from our state as a first step, rid it from our country, rid it from our world." Christine Caine of the A21 Campaign to prevent trafficking called the legislative package “a prototype” that other states could follow to fight traffickers' war on women.

New Hampshire

Pro-life conservative voters in New Hampshire are beginning to coalesce around former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith. Karen Testerman dropped out of the U.S. Senate race on Friday and endorsed Smith, saying she would no longer split the pro-life vote. "We can win this if we unite together behind Bob Smith,” Testerman said. Smith, who is seeking to regain the seat he held for two terms, is 100 percent pro-life and opposes redefining marriage. He will have his work cut out as he seeks to defeat former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, a Massachusetts transplant who favors abortion-on-demand, and Jim Rubens, a Brooklyn native who describes himself as pro-choice. "There's a breeze blowing out of Virginia," Smith said, referring to David Brat's surprise defeat of Eric Cantor this week. "The breeze is blowing and it's coming here. It's coming to New Hampshire."

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Michigan

Michigan abortionists may have to allow an expected mother to hear her baby's heartbeat, if Michigan passes one bill introduced in the state House. Right to Life of Michigan has supported that measure. Rep. Thomas Hooker, a Republican from Byron Center, also introduced bills barring abortion if a heartbeat could be detected. Hooker told Michigan Public Radio, “I think the discussion needs to begin to happen on the fact that this is an actual baby with a heartbeat, and we need to recognize that.” The state pro-life group opposes that legislation on the grounds that it would be invalidated under the Supreme Court's acceptance of Roe v. Wade.

Arkansas

The state government must pay $65,580 in court fees to the ACLU of Arkansas after the state lost its case defending a 12-week abortion ban. The judge, U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright, is the same magistrate who dismissed Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton. The president settled the lawsuit as Jones appealed the case to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Tennessee

The people and the legislators of Tennessee should not be able to regulate abortion-on-demand, according to the state Democratic Party. The Democratic Party of Tennessee has hired a full-time staff member to campaign against Amendment One, which would allow legislators to restrict abortion. The state Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the legislature may not regulate abortion-on-demand, which it termed a human right. If passed, Amendment One would amend the state constitution to read: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.” It is supported by the state Republican leadership, and Michelle Duggar has actively campaigned for it. But Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Roy Herron told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that the bill "would let Tea Party Republicans compel Tennessee women to bear rapists' children and even deny couples the right to save the desperately ill wife's life."

Wisconsin

Gov. Scott Walker, who is widely named as a dark horse presidential candidate in 2016, pointedly refused to give his own position on whether marriage is the union of one man and one woman in a recent interview, saying his position “doesn't matter.” The state is currently appealing a ruling striking down its marriage protection law issued by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb, who was appointed to the bench in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter. “Voters don’t talk to me about that,” Scott told The Chippewa Herald. But Julaine Appling, who leads Wisconsin Family Action, said, “Elected officials who are running for office this year in Wisconsin” are “concerned about their base. Well, their base says abandoning the party’s long-held position on marriage is not smart.”

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