WASHINGTON, D.C., January 17, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A governor said that pro-life protests had the same spirit and moral authority as slavery abolitionists during his State of the State address; two governors who have been discussed as likely 2016 presidential candidates have been active on life and family issues – one in ways that would please his party's voters, the other not; and states continue to struggle with the fallout of judicial rulings on gay “marriage.” Here we survey the most recent developments around the nation on life and family issues.
Governor Sam Brownback praised pro-life protests in his State of the State address on Wednesday, saying the movement to end abortion sprang from the same moral authority as those who worked to abolish slavery a century-and-a-half ago. The state had long been a moral leader to destroy “the chains of bondage of our brothers,” which “erupted into 'Bleeding Kansas,'” the proxy wars fought over whether the state would enter the union as a slave or free state. He compared this to the massive 1991 pro-life protest held outside George Tiller's late-term abortion facility. “The Summer of Mercy sprung forth in Kansas, as we could no longer tolerate the death of innocent children,” he said. The current owner of Tiller's facility, Julie Burkhart, responded, “By praising Summer of Mercy, Governor Brownback is condoning violence against doctors, clinic staff, and patients.” Burkhart has also argued that “abortion is about motherhood.”
In his own State of the State address, Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo zinged the legislature for not passing what its critics call the greatest expansion of abortion in the nation. In June, Cuomo proposed a 10-point “Women's Equality Act,” which Cuomo likened to the Bill of Rights. One of its planks, which would have removed abortion from the state's penal code and affirmed abortion at any point during pregnancy, passed the state Assembly but died in the state Senate after fierce opposition from Republicans and the Independent Democratic Conference. “It’s just been another year when government has failed to act on behalf of women,” Cuomo said on January 8. He used this year's address to suggest expanding universal preschool.
Republican Governor Susanna Martinez has said she will not promote a marriage protection amendment to her state's constitution. The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled the state must perform same-sex “marriages” in late December, saying that refusing to do so constituted gender discrimination. “The Supreme Court has decided, and it’s now the law of the land,” the governor said earlier this month. Martinez, a rising force in the Republican Party, is often spoken of as a presidential or vice presidential candidate, despite her denials that she is interested in either office, as the GOP tries to burnish its credentials among Hispanics and women.
Governor Sean Parnell has issued new regulations narrowing the state's relatively free policy on Medicaid-funded abortion. The statutes require abortionists to certify that any abortion paid for by state Medicaid dollars came after rape or incest, was necessary to save the mother from death, or met one of 21 conditions that would harm “a major bodily function” or exacerbate a physical or psychiatric disorder. In 2011, Medicaid paid for 623 of the 1,627 abortions performed in the state, or nearly four-in-ten. State Senator Jack Cohill, a Republican who represents the North Pole, proposed legislative conditions similar to those Parnell put into place, and hopes the legislature will codify these measures into law in a way that is binding on future administrations.
The State of Ohio has appealed a judge's ruling that it must recognize out-of-state gay “marriages” despite its constitutional amendment defining marriage as exclusively heterosexual. Judge Timothy Black, an Obama appointee, ruled in July that the state must recognize the seven-minute “marriage” of an Ohio homosexual couple, conducted on an airstrip in Maryland. One of the men has since died. Black ruled the state must list the man's partner as his “spouse” on the state-issued death certificate.
A Colorado Republican has introduced a bill that would make abortion a class 3 felony. State Representative Steve Humphrey, R-Severance, said House Bill 1133 is necessary to “protect our most vulnerable children.” It is regarded as dead-on-arrival.
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Only four months old, San Antonio's ordinance banning “discrimination” against transgender people has earned its first complaint. Matthew Hileman, who was born a woman, quit her job as an AT&T consultant after she says her co-workers placed a note on her chair that said, “No fag.” This, she said, constituted a threat on her life. The plaintiff's lawyer says she also heard co-workers complaining that the ordinance goes well beyond genuine threats to people's safety, something the attorney says qualifies as hate speech.