Pro-life measures move forward in Arizona, Florida, Missouri, and West Virginia
March 7, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As the media debate the reason abortions declined over the last few years, pro-life voices say the record number of new laws restricting abortion played a role. The year 2014 is already shaping up to follow the trend of substantial pro-life legislation.
Abortion facilities will no longer receive advance notice of state inspections, if the governor signs a proposed law. The state House of Representatives passed the measure, allowing unannounced health inspections of abortion facilities, by a vote of 34-22.
A woman tricked into ingesting an abortion-inducing drug that killed her child wants legislators to make sure that never happens to another woman. Remee Jo Lee testified that, unless lawmakers pass a new statute, Florida will have no state ordinance punishing offenders who harm women the way her boyfriend hurt her, physically and emotionally. "I'm still here but a big part of me is missing," Lee told the House Judicial Committee. "I miss my baby every single day." The committee passed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act 13-3 on Monday. It would allow prosecutors the discretion to try a criminal for a separate murder if he kills an unborn child, even if he did not know the woman was pregnant.
As that bill moves forward, another has stalled. Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, introduced a bill to restrict abortion if a child was found to be viable. The Health Policy Committee has placed a “temporary postponement” on the measure, reportedly at his request. The measure could be brought up again in the future or tabled. Presently, it is considered indefinitely on hold.
The Oklahoma House passed a bill requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their office, by a vote of 73-9. Similar measures have closed nine abortion facilities in neighboring Texas, as well as other states where admitting privileges were allowed to be enacted. The Senate must now pass the bill.
Abortion restrictions inched closer to acceptance in the Mountaineer State, as the state Senate Health and Human Resources Committee approved a ban on abortions at 20 weeks. Delegate Joe Ellington, a pro-life OB/GYN and Republican, said the bill actually goes into effect 20 weeks from conception, not the way most medical specialists count weeks. Therefore, it should really be viewed as a ban on abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy. Violators could be fined $4,000. The bill then passed the Judiciary Committee. It will now go to the full state Senate for a vote.
Women in Missouri may have more time to consider whether abortion is the right decision for them. The state House passed a bill to increase the waiting period for an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours by a 115-37 vote on Wednesday. Nine Democrats joined the chamber's Republican majority. It must pass the chamber a second time. However, Senate Democrats launched a filibuster against the Senate version of the bill on Wednesday.
New York state lawmakers have introduced a bill that would explicitly strike at conscience rights. The measure would state that employers may not deny employees' the right to contraception in their health care plans, even if it violates their deeply held religious beliefs to do so. State Sen. Liz Krueger and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee have presented their bill as a measure to enforce employees' rights, calling it a “boss bill.”
The city council of Englewood is considering a controversial new measure that would ban pro-life citizens from exercising their First Amendment rights within eight feet of an abortion facility. The proposed ordinance would bar anyone from standing too close to the entrance of any medical facility within the city limits during business hours. However, city attorney William Bailey said the law is aimed to quell unwanted pro-life protests, because it would “appear that the situation is getting worse.” Violators could be fined or sentenced to up to 90 days in jail.
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Maryland may be the next state to adopt a “bathroom bill” modeled after the policy in the state of California. The state Senate moved to add “transgender” status to its state anti-discrimination law on Tuesday, 32-15. The “Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014,” was sponsored by Richard S. Madaleno Jr., D-Montgomery. One Republican voted for the measure, four Democrats voted against it. The House of Delegates must now vote on the measure. Republican Delegate Neil C. Parrott of Washington has already expressed his concerns. “The problem is you send your daughter into the bathroom, and you expect it’s going to be girls and women in the bathroom. And instead you find out there’s a 45-year-old man in the bathroom with them,” he said.