The year 2018 saw some significant pro-life victories on the state level. As we ring in 2019, here are five initiatives to watch in state legislatures seeking to ban or restrict abortion:
1. Texas: Pro-Life Constitutional Amendment
State Senator Bob Hall has introduced SJR 3, which would immediately outlaw abortion in Texas if and when Roe v. Wade is overturned, acknowledging the right to life of preborn children. The proposal will be on the Texas ballot in November 2019 if it passes the legislature. The Alabama legislature recently passed a similar amendment to its state constitution.
2. Kentucky: Heartbeat bill, informed consent, abortion facility inspections
Kentucky Representative Robert Goforth filed the Fetal Heartbeat legislation BR 823, which would make it a felony for a physician to commit an abortion after a heartbeat is detectable, as early as 6-10 weeks of gestation — although research indicates the heartbeat may start as early as 16-21 days after conception. The bill would also require informed consent and strict abortion facility oversight inspections.
3. Ohio: Heartbeat bill
Ohio’s 2018 heartbeat bill — which would have criminalized abortion performed after a heartbeat is detectable — ended in a dramatic defeat in December by Ohio’s outgoing governor, John Kasich, whose veto the legislature failed to override by only one vote. However, the success of a heartbeat law in 2019 is much more likely. Governor-elect Mike Dewine, who will be inaugurated on January 14th, has promised to sign similar legislation, but even if he somehow reneges on his promise, the legislature could now have a veto-proof majority.
The House overrode, but the Senate was one vote shy. That also means there is *more* than enough people supporting it to pass it easily next year. And next year they don’t need an override because gov elect Dewine already promised to sign it.
— Robin Marty (@robinmarty) December 27, 2018
4. South Carolina: Heartbeat bill, ultrasound mandate
State Senator Grooms filed S 32, the “South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat Protection from Abortion Act,” which similarly would make abortion a felony for the physician if a heartbeat is detectable. The bill would also require ultrasound images of the preborn child to be shown to the woman seeking an abortion.
5. Missouri: Heartbeat law, reporting requirements
Similar to Kentucky and South Carolina initiatives, SB 139 would require physicians to test for a heartbeat prior to committing an abortion. If a heartbeat is present, the physician may not commit an abortion except in the case of a medical emergency, or risks penalties including losing his/her license to practice medicine. Additionally, abortion providers would need to report on the date, time, method, and results of the heartbeat test.
Several of these initiatives challenge the framework of legalized abortion in America, making 2019 a potentially significant year in the fight for the unborn.