Four US states advance abortion bans, conscience protections, and more pro-life measures
April 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A variety of pro-life measures continued to advance this week through the legislatures of Alabama, Indiana, South Carolina, and Texas, continuing a trend of state-level proactivity that has frustrated pro-abortion activists uncertain of Roe v. Wade’s future.
Introduces in the Alabama House on Tuesday, the Alabama Human Life Protection Act bans abortion for any reason other than to “avert [a mother’s] death or to avert serious risk of substantial physical impairment of a major bodily function.” It specifically excludes mental or emotional health from qualifying. Abortion would become a Class C felony, punishable by up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
“Just last year, roughly 60 percent of voters across the state ratified a constitutional amendment declaring Alabama as a pro-life state, and this legislation is the next logical step in the fight to protect unborn life,” announced Republican state Rep. Terri Collins, who filed the bill, AL.com reports. “With liberal states like New York rushing to approve radical late-term and post-birth abortions, passage of this bill will reflect the conservative beliefs, principles, and desires of the citizens of Alabama while, at the same time, providing a vehicle to revisit the constitutionally-flawed Roe v. Wade decision.”
The Montgomery Advertiser adds that the bill already has 66 House cosponsors, all-but guaranteeing its passage. GOP state Sen. Greg Albritton has also filed a version in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Indiana saw the advancement of two pro-life bills, one to ban dismemberment abortion procedures and another to allow more types of health professionals to opt out of providing abortion-related services.
The dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedure, common in the second trimester, is more commonly known as “dismemberment abortion” because it functions by tearing a preborn baby apart limb by limb. Defenders claim they’re the safest second-trimester procedure (for the mother), but pro-lifers suspect abortionists actually prefer D&E abortions because they can fit more into their schedule (thereby making more money). The GOP-controlled Senate voted 38-10 Tuesday to criminalize the procedures, the Associated Press reports.
The Senate also passed legislation letting nurses, pharmacists and physical assistants refuse to participate in abortions or dispense abortifacient drugs, the Indianapolis Star reports. Doctors, health clinic staffers, and other types of hospital employees already have that right under current law. Both measures have already passed the House, and now await a signature from pro-life Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.
Meanwhile, South Carolina’s House Judiciary Committee voted 15-7 Tuesday to advance a ban on aborting babies with detectable heartbeats to the House floor, The State reports, effectively banning abortion at around six weeks into pregnancy. “The state does have an interest in protecting children, and I see an unborn child as a child,” declared GOP state Rep. John McCravy, the bill’s sponsor.
The committee did amend the bill to add exceptions for rape or incest, which McCravy opposes. “Do we terminate that person because of someone else’s criminal act?” he asked. Republicans kept control of South Carolina’s state legislature after the midterms but lost some reliable pro-life votes in the Senate, raising questions as to whether the bill will reach pro-life Republican Gov. Henry McMaster’s desk, or in what form.
In Texas, Senate Bill 22 would forbid state and local governments from “enter[ing] into a taxpayer resource transaction with an abortion provider or an affiliate of an abortion provider,” except as specifically required by federal law. The state House voted 20-11 to pass it Tuesday, KVUE reports.
"While they may not be doing abortions [at a Planned Parenthood building leased by the City of Austin], those dollars can still pass through to prop up the abortion industry, so this bill does inhibit local municipalities from contracting with an abortion facility," explained GOP state Sen. Donna Campbell.
“Texas taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to subsidize the abortion industry with their tax dollars, abortion providers unnaturally end the lives of almost 60,000 of our tiniest and most vulnerable Texans every year,” Campbell declared, KRIS-TV adds. “That fact alone should make them ineligible to receive tax dollars.”
The first four months of 2019 have seen more than 250 pro-life bills across 41 states, according to a recent report by Planned Parenthood and the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute. Many of these measures, particularly heartbeat bills, ban abortion far earlier in pregnancy than Roe’s current “viability” cutoff, and are meant to force the Supreme Court to review the 1973 ruling. Pro-lifers hope President Donald Trump’s nominees to the high court will provide a majority that finally overturns Roe and restores voters’ freedom to fully decide abortion laws for themselves.