March 14, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – There are recent developments relating to pieces of pro-life legislation making their way through the legislatures of three states:
GEORGIA – A bill that would have put the state’s abortion clinics out of business by requiring abortion to be performed in hospitals has been tabled by a state Senate committee, reports Local NBC 11.
The measure, SB 209, proposed by Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville), actually began as a measure to ban abortion after 20 weeks gestation. But it was later amended to prohibit abortion clinics from operating as surgical centers for abortion. Local NBC 11 reports that since 95 percent of Georgia’s 36,000 plus abortions are performed in abortion clinics, Loudermilk’s bill would have effectively shut the industry down.
Planned Parenthood lobbyists argued that the move was “clearly unconstitutional” and testified that abortion was “ the most common and safe outpatient procedure in the United States.”
However, pro-life advocates argued that abortion-related complications and deaths are underreported. Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) said that maternal deaths from abortion were “happening in our state much more regularly than would be known.”
Legislative hearings in another U.S. state recently revealed that maternal deaths were underreported in that state. Abortion doctor Herbert Hodes testified last week before Kansas lawmakers that at least five women had died from abortion in the past five years. Given that Kansas had 50,000 abortions in the years 2006-2010, the state’s abortion death ratio would suggest 1 death in every 10,000 abortions, a far cry from the 6 deaths in 1,000,000 abortions figure cited by NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Loudermilk said that his bill would fulfill the pro-choice manta of “safe, legal, and rare.” “[T]hey need to be rare and they need to be safe and that’s the objective we’re trying to get to,” said Loudermilk.
Rules Committee Chairman Sen. Don Balfour (R-Snellville), however, tabled the bill, saying there was more work to do. This included studying the impact SB 209 would have on hospitals, and any inadvertent pressure that could be put on hospital workers to perform abortions that would violate their consciences.
NBC 11 adds that while the bill is likely dead, Loudermilk also has legislation progressing that would allow individuals to sue abortionists for wrongful death, including if the abortionist had failed to notify parents of an abortion as required by law.
NEW HAMPSHIRE – A parental notice law is getting a vote in the state House of Representatives, giving lawmakers a chance to re-instate the parental notice law that was repealed four years earlier.
The Associated Press reports that the parental notification law requires that abortionists give parents or the court 48 hours notice before an unemancipated minor obtains an abortion, unless a medical emergency exists.
The bill specifies that a medical emergency entails averting the death or “irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”
Democrat Gov. John Lynch signed the bill repealing the parental notice law in 1997, but the AP says he has given no indication about whether he would sign or veto the law if it passed in the legislature.
The bill is expected to come to a vote within the week.
However, efforts to defund Planned Parenthood in the state were punted to the next legislative session last Thursday. The New Hampshire House Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee voted 14-3 to hold a bill that would prohibit the state health department from setting up contracts with Planned Parenthood and other groups that provide abortion services.
IDAHO – House lawmakers are set to vote on a bill that would opt Idaho out of allowing abortion coverage under the state health insurance exchange system set up by President Obama’s health care reform law.
The AP reports that the Senate has already passed the bill, and it will quickly become law once the House approves the bill as expected. The House State Affairs Committee voted on party lines 11 – 4 to approve SB 1115 for a vote by the full House.
The health exchanges go into effect in 2014, as part of the reform bill known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). PPACA requires states to have at least one policy covering abortion and one policy excluding abortion participating in the exchange. Since health insurance is employer-based in general, that could mean that pro-life individuals would find themselves paying for coverage to an insurance company that would subsidize another’s abortion.
However, PPACA does allow states to opt out and ban health insurance companies participating in the exchange from providing elective abortion. The Idaho bill bans coverage for elective abortion except for rape, incest, or life of the mother. The bill, however, does allow women to purchase separate coverage for abortion from private health insurers willing to offer it.
So far five states (Arizona, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, and Louisiana) have passed opt-out legislation. More states have taken up opt-out legislation in this year’s legislative session.