More Pro-life Measures Enacted
In recent years, pro-life activists gradually have shifted the focus of abortion from hopes of overturning Roe vs. Wade at the federal level to making small gains in state-by-state efforts. In many states, 2015 again proved to be a productive year for lawmakers placing restrictions on abortion.
“The momentum for creating a culture that respects life in the law increases each year,” says Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life. “This is a historic time for life. More life-affirming and protective state laws have been enacted since 2010 than in any similar period since Roe v. Wade.”
AUL notes that states enacted 30 anti-abortion measures last year, including banning abortions after five months in pregnancy, requiring health and safety standards for abortion facilities, instituting admitting privileges requirements for abortion providers, and passing regulations on the administration of abortion-inducing drugs. Arkansas passed seven pieces of legislation restricting abortion.
In 2015, AUL observed a noticeable increase in proposals seeking to undermine existing state laws and policies limiting abortion, but none of the 27 proposals introduced in state legislatures became law.
AUL devises an annual list ranking states on how well women are protected from abortion industry abuses. For 2015, the top 10 states, primarily in the Midwest and South, are: Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Indiana, North Dakota, Missouri, and Texas.
The organization also compiles a yearly list of “least protective” states, and they are located largely in the West and Northeast. Washington has been the worst state to protect women for seven years in a row, according to AUL. The other worst states are Vermont, New Jersey, California, Oregon, Nevada, New York, Hawaii, Connecticut, and Wyoming.
The U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide in 1973 with its 7-2 Roe v. Wade ruling. The high court will hear oral arguments on an abortion case this year for the first time since 2007. The case of Whole Women’s Health v. Cole will examine a challenge to a Texas law that requires abortion providers to be admitted to practice in local hospitals, and that abortion facilities meet similar health and safety standards as other medical centers.
Cindi Boston, newly named vice president at Heartbeat International, says raising the medical standards of abortion providers benefits women in the long run.
“New state laws are providing information on abortion procedures, a preprocedure ultrasound, and education on available pregnancy resources like pregnancy help organizations,” says Boston, who as a member of Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, led the Pregnancy Care Center in that city since its founding in 1999. “Health-care standards for women are advanced by states actively engaged in creating new life-affirming laws. Educated women are then empowered to make informed pregnancy decisions.”