State legislatures honor a pro-life leader, protect women’s health, and establish conscience rights
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 3, 2012, LifeSiteNews.com) – After a record-breaking 2011 in terms of pro-life legislation introduced, legislators have introduced more than 400 pro-life bills across the country. LifeSiteNews.com is monitoring pro-life, pro-family legislation in state houses nationwide.
Supporting the unborn is a thankless job, but Dr. Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life received a welcome measure of recognition this week. On Wednesday, the Missouri House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring her work on behalf of the unborn. The award came as Dr. Yoest came to testify on behalf of a bill that would ban sex-selective abortions.
Abortionists in Oklahoma will face stiffer penalties if they ignore the state’s notification and informed consent laws. House Bill 2561 – which won unanimous approval from the House after receiving a lopsided majority in the state senate – would allow women to sue abortion clinics that do not provide an ultrasound, allow them to hear their unborn baby’s heartbeat, or inform the parents of minor girls at least 48 hours in advance. Governor Mary Fallin is expected to sign the bill into law.
The state senate passed a new conscience measure, protecting health care professionals who do not wish to participate in abortion, refer patients for abortions, or distribute abortifacient drugs by 23-16 on Wednesday. The bill will now go to Governor Sam Brownback. “This is about respecting the rights to conscience and others’ beliefs,” said State Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook.
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Although the state does not recognize same-sex “marriage,” Rhode Island is considering a bill allowing same-sex divorce. A pending proposal would allow couples who marry in other states to seek a divorce in the nation’s smallest state. Another measure would legalize same-sex “marriage,” after the motion failed last year. More than 80 people testified before the House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday.
The Alabama House Health Committee passed two bills by voice vote on Wednesday. One opts out of providing abortion under the state health care exchanges established by ObamaCare. Another imposes new regulations on abortion clinics. Meanwhile, the committee’s counterpart in the state senate held a hearing yesterday on a Personhood bill introduced by Sen. Phil Williams.
Residents of Iowa will soon be able to proclaim their support for the unborn everywhere they drive. Late last month, the state Department of Transportation made Iowa the 29th state to approve a “Choose Life” license plate. The plate, which features smiling children, will convey to “people who see it that there are other choices,” said Jenifer Bowen, executive director of Iowa Right to Life.
Judges in the Granite State will have a bit more time in deciding whether minors must inform their parents of their decision to get an abortion. The state’s parental notification law, which took effect this year, requires judges to determine whether a teen could receive a waiver within 48 hours. The state legislature has passed a bill that would give judges two business days to grant teens an exemption. The bill now goes to Governor John Lynch.