Indiana abortions halved since 1980, MO set to override waiting period veto, and more
The number of abortions continues to drop nationally and in each state. But Planned Parenthood and its political allies have written new laws to restrict pro-life speech and sued to strike down laws cutting off state funding of abortion. Meanwhile, taxpayers in another state will be forced to pay for sex-change operations for transgender state employees.
The number of abortions performed in Indiana fell for the fifth straight year, according to figures released last week by the Indiana State Department of Health. A total of 8,027 Indiana women had abortions in 2013, down nine percent from the 2012 level of 8,808. That represents about half the state's all-time highest abortion total in 1980: 16,505. "We are encouraged that the number of abortions in Indiana continues to drop, but we mourn the loss of 8,027 unborn boys and girls," stated Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. "We look forward to the day when the abortion rate is zero. Until then, we will continue to work with our partners in the pro-life community to provide positive alternatives for women facing unplanned or complicated pregnancies. Women don't need to feel like abortion is their only option; thousands of Hoosiers are ready to provide support to both mother and child during pregnancy and after birth."
The state's overwhelming pro-marriage majority is breathing a sigh of relief, as a federal appeals court has stayed its decision to overturn its constitutional marriage protection amendment. After hearing of the decision on Friday, state Attorney General Greg Zoeller ordered county clerks to cease issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The Missouri legislature is likely to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a bill that would make a woman wait 72 hours to have an abortion, according to local media. Because several Republican legislators were absent when the initial vote to pass the bill was taken, the final roll call did not convey the bill's veto-proof strength. The bill, intended to give women the maximum time available to make up their mind about having an abortion, garnered bipartisan support, increasing the likelihood of an override. “It doesn’t help that a number of socially conservative Democrats – such as state Reps. Ben Harris, D-Jefferson County, and Ed Schieffer, D-Troy – will likely not back down from their initial votes,” St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum wrote.
The Massachusetts state Senate has passed a new bill that would effectively send pro-life protesters to a penalty box if police say they are impeding access to an abortion facility. Those deemed guilty by police could be forced to stand at least 25 feet away from the entrance of the facility for up to eight hours under the measure proposed by Sen. Harriette L. Chandler, D-Worcester. Gov. Deval Patrick said there is a “pressing need” to pass a new law after the U.S. Supreme Court's McCullen v. Coakley decision struck down its 35-foot free speech suppression zone.
The Republican candidate for governor, Charlie Baker, is emphasizing his "pro-choice" and pro-homosexual views in his bid for more support in the deep-blue state. “I’m a pro-choice candidate and I support marriage equality,” he told WGBH-FM. “My brother is actually gay and married.” Baker lost his 2010 race against incumbent Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick. He is currently in a statistical dead heat with Democratic opponent, Martha Coakley, the state attorney general who defended the state's “buffer zone” law.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown is also touting his support for abortion-on-demand, saying his stance will earn him hearty bipartisan support in this fall's election, if he is nominated. The former Massachusetts senator called himself a “problem-solving, pro-choice moderate Republican," who believes that women "have the right to do whatever they want with their bodies in terms of reproductive health.” He said he will reach across the aisle in the Capitol and address social issues like abortion and redefining marriage without “demonizing” his opponents. He faces another pro-abortion Republican and pro-life former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith in a September 9 primary.
A judge has stopped a law that would have restricted state Medicaid funding of abortion to cases in which the pregnancy would pose a health risk to a “major bodily function.” Anchorage Superior Court Judge John Suddock blocked Senate Bill 49 last Tuesday, July 15, the day before it was to go into effect. The state Supreme Court ruled that Alaska taxpayers must fund abortion in cases where it is deemed “medically necessary,” but the term was left undefined. Republican Gov. Sean Parnell issued guidelines restricting state abortion funding in January, but a previous ruling has placed those on hold. Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, the ACLU, and the Center for Reproductive Rights sued over S.B. 49, introduced by state Sen. Jack Coghill, that would extend the restrictions to future administrations. The law will go on trial next February. Medicaid paid for more than one-in-three of every abortion in the state in 2013, funding 547 of 1,450 abortions statewide.
A Florida city with an openly gay vice mayor has rejected a resolution supporting same-sex “marriage.” Miami Shores village council rejected the symbolic motion, introduced by Vice Mayor Jesse Walters, 3-2. Christian Family Coalition leader Anthony Verdugo told the deciding members that, thanks to their votes, “God won - and you courageously made the difference.” The defeat complicates the media narrative that the triumph of gay “marriage” is “inevitable.”
Although gay “marriage” could not win at a legislative level, a judge ruled that the state's constitutional marriage protection amendment is illegal. Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia made the ruling last Thursday. But his decision, which only applies to the Florida Keys and specifically to Monroe County, has been stayed after state Attorney General Pam Bondi said she will file an appeal.
Maryland taxpayers will underwrite the cost of sex-change operations, hormonal treatments, and other aspects of transition for state government workers as part of a new “Gender Dysphoria Benefit.” The decision, which comes after a state group sued to argue the ban on funding constituted “discrimination” against transgender people, makes Maryland one of only three states to fund such procedures, with Oregon and California. The cost of sexual transition treatment may vary from $23,000 to $50,000.
The elderly are the fastest growing demographic in New Mexico, according to numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Those 65 or older grew by 12 percent from 2010 to 2013, two points higher than the national average, while the state's population of minors contracted by two percent. There was zero net growth of adults under 64. University of New Mexico demographer Jack Baker told the Associated Press that half of the state's population will be 65 or over by the year 2030.
Planned Parenthood Votes has endorsed 53 candidates in Washington State. All 53 are members of the Democratic Party.