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States’ Abortion-related Legislation

In the past few months, three political events have significantly impacted abortion rights politics. In the November elections, Democrats won back control of the U.S. House of Representatives, while pro-life Republicans increased their ground in the U.S. Senate.

On January 22, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the radical Reproductive Health Act. It legalized abortion for essentially any reason until birth in New York. One World Trade Center was lit up in pink as abortion supporters celebrated.

In February the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act failed to pass the U.S. Senate. The bill required medical aid for babies born alive during failed abortion procedures. The 53-44 vote fell short of the 60 votes required to end the filibuster. While three Democrats did vote for the bill, all six Democrats running for president voted against the bill.

These three events and the possibility that Roe v. Wade could be overturned or weakened have caused a flurry of abortion-related bills in state legislatures. The following examples are just a snapshot in time. The process is very fluid and the political landscape will change in coming days and weeks.

Arizona: The House Judiciary Committee defeated a bill (8-0) that would allow infanticide and deny babies born after failed abortions basic medical care.

Arkansas: The Human Life Protection Act passed in February, making Arkansas the fifth state (joining Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota) to immediately ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Georgia: The House approved a bill to ban abortions after a heartbeat is detectable. Governor Kemp is pushing to pass a law guaranteeing that abortion will be illegal should Roe v. Wade be overturned.

Idaho: The Senate passed a bill to ban partial-birth abortions. This bill would help reinforce the federal ban by making it possible for a whistleblower to go to state-level enforcers instead of solely to federal prosecutors.

Indiana: The House passed a bill (71-25) in February to ban the brutal dismemberment abortion method which tears the unborn baby limb from limb.

Illinois: Experts say two house bills are the most radical abortion bills proposed in any state to-date and go well beyond the recent New York law. Governor Pritzker promises his state will be the most “progressive” on abortion.

Iowa: A proposed resolution would add language to the state constitution: “The constitution does not secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” West Virginia voters approved a similar constitutional amendment in 2018.

Kentucky: A bill advanced that would require basic medical care for babies who survive abortions. The House approved a bill making it a felony to perform an abortion except when the mother’s life is at risk. Also being considered are bills that ban abortion after the baby’s heartbeat is detectable, protect unborn babies with Down syndrome from abortion, and ban abortion completely should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade.

Maryland: The House approved a measure to legalize physician-assisted suicide. It now goes to the Senate.

Massachusetts: A bill would allow abortion for basically any reason up to birth. Similar bills are being considered in New Mexico, Vermont, and Rhode Island.

Mississippi: A bill to ban abortion once a heartbeat is detectable passed out of committee and heads to the Senate.

Missouri: The House passed the “strongest pro-life bill in the country” by a 110-37 vote. It includes a ban on abortions when a heartbeat is detectable, an overall ban if Roe v. Wade is overturned, and a ban on discriminatory abortions based on race, sex, or disability.

New Mexico: The House passed a bill legalizing abortion for essentially any reason up to birth. Governor Grisham promised to sign the bill if it passes the Senate. Also, a proposed assisted suicide bill is described as the nation’s most extreme.

Rhode Island: The House passed a bill that would legalize abortions for essentially any reason up to birth and change the parental consent law to include grandparents and siblings.

Tennessee: The House passed a bill (65-21) to prohibit abortion once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable. Another bill would protect the unborn should Roe v. Wade be reversed. Governor Lee said he will support legislation that reduces abortion numbers.

Utah: The Down Syndrome Discrimination Bill was introduced to prohibit abortion based solely on a diagnosis of Down Syndrome.

Vermont: State lawmakers voted 104-40 to advance a bill to codify legal abortion up to birth in state law. Vermont RTL Director Mary Hahn Beerworth said, “The change is that the Vermont legislature will move from passive acceptance of unrestricted abortion to intentional enactment.”

Virginia: Governor Northam defended a bill legalizing abortion up to birth and doubled down after he voiced support for infanticide on a radio show. The defeated bill captured national attention and awakened Americans to the Democrat party’s strident support for abortion.

Wisconsin: Governor Evers said he will force state residents to fund Planned Parenthood as part of his state budget.

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