A balloon is seen in front of the U.S. Capitol during the annual March for Life in Washington Jan. 23. The pro-life demonstration marks the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion across the nation.
Catholic News Service
Various proposals to regulate or limit abortions or abortion funding are moving through state legislatures.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law a bill requiring an ultrasound to determine gestational age before a woman undergoes an abortion procedure or takes an abortion-inducing drug. The legislation had been amended to exclude victims of rape and incest and to require the routine transabdominal ultrasound rather than the more invasive transvaginal test.
The North Dakota Catholic Conference expressed disappointment at a decision by a judge to put on hold implementation of the state’s Abortion Drug Safety Law, pending resolution of a lawsuit. The law requires that abortion drugs be administered according to the Food and Drug Administration protocol for their use.
In Utah, by a 22-6 vote, the Senate passed legislation to increase the waiting period before an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours and sent it to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature. The only other state with a 72-hour waiting period is South Dakota, where the requirement has been blocked by an injunction.
The Georgia Senate voted 33-18 in favor of a bill to stop funding of abortion in state employees’ health plans. Also under consideration in the state Legislature are measures that would require abortions be performed only in hospitals and prohibiting any abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
In Oklahoma, by a vote of 34-8, the state Senate approved a bill requiring doctors to tell women they have the right to hear the fetal heartbeat before an abortion. The Senate also passed the Personhood Act, which says a person’s life begins at the moment of conception.
In the Arizona Legislature, a House committee approved a measure that would cut off any funding of Planned Parenthood through the state’s family planning programs. A Senate panel OK’d a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks, and the full Senate voted 21-9 in favor of a bill that would keep abortion providers out of public and charter schools.
In South Carolina, a Senate subcommittee unanimously passed the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, which defines a baby born alive as a person, even if he or she survived an abortion attempt. A version of the bill overwhelmingly passed the House last year but did not go any further.
In Kansas, a House committee deferred discussion of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which would prohibit state employees or agencies from participating in an abortion, after employees of the University of Kansas Medical Center raised concerns that the legislation would prevent medical residents from learning how to perform abortions.
In Florida, the House passed by a 78-33 vote a comprehensive abortion bill that would require a 24-hour waiting period, stipulate that physicians must explain to the woman that fetus 20 weeks or older could experience pain, allow only physicians to own abortion clinics and require three hours of ethics training for doctors each year.
The Texas Catholic Conference expressed support for that state’s decision to drop Planned Parenthood from its Women’s Health Program, which the Obama administration said puts at risk the federal funding of its Medicaid program.
At the federal level, the House Judiciary Committee passed the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act by a 20-13 vote. The legislation would prohibit abortions performed based on the unborn child’s sex or race and outlaw coercion of any woman to abort because of the child’s sex or race.