A plethora of pro-life legislation has been making its way through both federal and state legislatures these past few weeks. It is always vital that lawmakers hear support and well-reasoned arguments from pro-life constituents – and perhaps now more than ever before, as arguments continue to surface both from liberals and conservatives threatening that fighting the pro-life battle isn’t worth the cost to lawmakers.
Pro-life advocates are always encouraged to communicate support for pro-life legislation, thanking lawmakers who have voted in support of life, and expressing dissatisfaction to lawmakers who have not. Citizens can contact the legislators representing their district, as well as leaders in the legislature or party, such as speakers of the House, Senate majority and minority leaders, and chairs of committees where pro-life legislation is being considered.
Check out what’s happening across America and become informed and active in your state!
Legislation has been introduced to the Alaska Senate to clarify which abortions must be paid for by state dollars. In 2001, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that Medicaid must cover medically necessary abortions, but the Court listed only some instances of what would qualify as “medically necessary,” leaving the specifics up to the legislature. Senator John Coghill has introduced SB 49, seeking to limit state funds only to abortions deemed necessary to save the life of the mother, or for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. Senator Coghill explains that he is aiming to emulate the Federal Hyde Amendment. Lawmakers recently heard from a panel of national medical professionals who will help decide which conditions constitute a medically necessary abortion and which do not. The bill is now heading to the Senate Judiciary and Finance Committees for further consideration
Alaskan citizens can find their lawmakers and contact information, along with a list of who is part of the committee considering this bill, here.
The Arkansas House and Senate recently voted to override Governor Mike Beebe’s veto of House Bill 1037, which would ban nearly all abortions after the 20th week, and has also approved Senate Bill 134, to back that limit up to the 12th week of pregnancy. The bill banning abortions after 20 weeks is intended to prevent abortions on the basis of fetal pain, while the bill banning abortions after 12 weeks is based on detection of a fetal heartbeat. The standard exceptions are present in the first bill, allowing for abortions in the cases of rape, incest, and medical emergency. The second bill, banning abortions after 12 weeks, allows for these same exceptions, as well as for abortions where lethal fetal abnormalities are detected.
The legislature also recently passed what is now known as Act 72, which prevents insurance companies from covering elective abortions without the purchase of a separate insurance rider, and has introduced two additional pieces of legislation which concern pro-life advocates – notably House Bill 1447, which tightens regulations on abortions provided to minors, and Senate Bill 417, which extends the criminal sanctions against perpetrators who cause the death of an unborn baby to cover fetuses of all gestational age, as opposed to only pregnancies which have reached a specified gestational age.
Pro-life advocates are encouraged to contact their legislators and thank those who supported the pro-life measures, or express regret to lawmakers who did not do so, and encourage support for pro-life legislation which is pending. Arkansas citizens can search for their legislators and their contact information, as well as information on voting records, here.
Legislators in Indiana are seeking to require women receiving chemical abortions to undergo an ultrasound examination prior to being prescribed RU-486 or other medication intended to cause an abortion. The measure, which would also require any clinic providing chemical abortions to meet the same standards as clinics providing surgical abortions, was approved by the Senate just a few days ago and will now be heading to the House of Representatives for consideration. Indiana’s governor, Mike Pence, is strongly pro-life, so the fate of the bill, for practical purposes, most likely rests purely in the hands of state representatives. Indiana citizens can search for their lawmakers here.
A standing committee in the Kentucky House of Representatives rejected no less than six pro-life bills this past Thursday, some of which had already been approved by the Senate. Two Senate bills, Senate Bill 4 and Senate Bill 5, would have required women seeking an abortion to have a face-to-face consultation with a doctor before receiving an abortion, and also to undergo and view an ultrasound. Currently, an ultrasound does not even have to be performed in Kentucky unless the abortionist deems it medically necessary.
The remaining bills originated in the House of Representatives. House Bill 23 would have prohibited insurance plans on the health benefit exchange from paying for abortions, while House Bill 251 would have required doctors who work in abortion clinics to have local hospital privileges and be board-certified. House Bill 132 was intended to prohibit abortions if a fetal heart beat is detected, and House Bill 412 would ban abortions earlier than 20 weeks, among other things.
Kentucky citizens can see a list of the committee members who voted on this legislation here and can search for their legislators here. Democrats on the committee voted against the measures, while Republicans on the committee reportedly voted for the legislation.
Pro-life lawmakers in Michigan have introduced two pieces of pro-life legislation recently. House Bill 4187 requires women to undergo a trans-vaginal ultrasound before obtaining an abortion but maintains the state’s current law that the woman only be given the option of seeing the results and not be required to view any images. Republican State House Leader Jase Bolger has already made it clear that he will not allow the measure to be passed, as he believes that it is too invasive. Speaker Bolger’s contact information can be found here.
Senate Bill 0137 has also been introduced, which requires a purchase of a separate insurance rider for health insurance participants who wish to have abortion coverage. A similar measure resulted in Governor Rick Snyder vetoing insurance reform due to the rider requirements being added to the legislation.
Pro-life advocates can search for contact information for their legislators, to express support for these pro-life measures, here.
House Bill 391 has recently been passed in the Montana House of Representatives, making sweeping additions to the state’s requirements related to abortions sought by minors. In November, voters passed a ballot initiative that requires minors to notify their parents before obtaining an abortion, and HB 391 seeks to build off that foundation by adding several additional requirements. Most notably, the bill ups the definition of “minor” from 16 to 18; requires minors to obtain written parental consent, as opposed to mere notification; and also requires both the teen and parent to be given, and sign, a consent form which details the risks of abortion. Similar measures were struck down by the Montana Supreme Court in 1999, and similar concerns have been raised regarding this legislation as well. Montana lawmakers have also stripped federal family planning funding and are considering measures to create legal protections for unborn babies harmed during criminal activity, as well as adding regulations for what is taught during sex education in the government public schools.
Montana citizens can find their legislators, and contact information, here.