CHICAGO, January 29, 2004 ( – Louisiana is first, Vermont is worst, while Texas is the most improved in state efforts to protect women and unborn children. Americans United for Life (AUL), recently released its inaugural 2004 State Report Cards, ranking states based upon 24 health-related and life-affirming criteria.  States were credited for initiatives designed to protect women, their health, and their unborn children. Louisiana’s top score of 36 (out of a possible 42) indicates that elected officials in each state can do more to safeguard women and the unborn. “The states are critical players in the cause for life, “said Denise M. Burke, AUL staff counsel and project coordinator.  “The states are where more women are protected, where more life-affirming laws are passed and where more lives are saved.”  More than one third of all possible points were awarded in three primary categories:  · Informed consent (with a mandatory reflection period and a warning about the link between abortion and breast cancer) – six points · Protection for unborn children from criminal assaults – five points · Health and safety regulations for abortion clinics – four points   Additionally, AUL assigned a letter grade reflecting the strength and productivity of each state’s 2003 legislative session. States that passed two or more protective laws received an A. Nine states (Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) received top grades for their efforts last year.  “While 2003 was a strong session for legislation that protects women and unborn children in states like Texas, Missouri, and Minnesota, the sad reality is that 32 states scored below 25, failing to adopt and enforce many basic, common-sense legal protections for women and unborn children,” said Burke. “In a year when national and international events raised awareness for the need to safeguard innocent life from violence, too many governors and state legislatures failed to follow through with any meaningful action.”  Actions and positions by a state’s governor, attorney general, and its highest court also affected the final tabulation. Five states (Alaska, Florida, Indiana, Maine and North Dakota) lost points for state supreme court rulings harmful to women and unborn children.  “Statewide elections for governor and attorney general have a tremendous impact on how vigorously states will defend the protective laws that legislatures pass,” said Burke. “Too often, judges thwart the will of the people, invalidating laws such as informed consent and parental notice laws, which have significant and widespread public support. Governors and attorneys general have to be prepared to vigorously defend these laws against the legal challenges that will inevitably be filed by many abortion advocacy groups.”  The complete 2004 AUL State Report Cards are available at .


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