A busy week for pro-life governors
Pro-life states set records for passing laws in the 2021 legislative session
In a grand finale for the 2021 legislative session, states passed at least 28 pro-life bill last week, almost doubling the total number of pro-life laws approved in the session so far. According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, 61 of the 536 total pro-life laws introduced in states across the country since January have become law as of April 29.
The high rate of success for pro-life legislatures has pro-abortion groups calling the 2021 legislative session the most “damaging” one in decades. But pro-life leaders say these victories should send a message to the radically pro-abortion Biden administration.
The Guttmacher Institute announced the unprecedented number of successful pro-life bills in an analysis published on Friday. The organization compared this legislative session to a session a decade ago. “By this time in 2011—the year previously regarded as the most hostile to abortion rights since Roe was decided—42 restrictions had been enacted, including six bans,” wrote the Guttmacher staff. This year, eight of the 61 new pro-life laws are abortion “bans,” which protect unborn babies from abortion under certain circumstances.
Last week, Oklahoma and Idaho passed heartbeat bills, which protect babies from abortion once they have a detectable heartbeat. (Idaho’s heartbeat law will only go into effect if a federal appeals court upholds a similar law in another state.) A new Montana law safeguards babies after 20 weeks of gestation—the point at which studies show they can feel the pain of being dismembered—and Arizona passed a law that protects babies with genetic abnormalities. Oklahoma also passed a law that will automatically ban abortion in the state if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
The new pro-life laws also include measures that establish safety standards for women seeking abortions or that ensure women are fully informed before making an abortion decision. One such bill signed by Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte last week requires abortionists to give women the chance to see the ultrasound of their babies before they get an abortion. Another bill Gianforte signed the same day requires abortionists to distribute abortion pills to women in person rather than through telemedicine. This and other similar bills introduced this year are a part of the pro-life reaction to the Biden administration’s willingness to relax safety standards for the dangerous pills.
The 61 pro-life laws passed this year came from 13 different states. Arkansas—ranked by Americans United for Life in December 2020 as the most pro-life state—passed the most laws protecting the unborn this session with 20. According to the Guttmacher Institute, this ties Louisiana in 1978, when legislators in that state set the record for passing the most pro-life laws in a single year.
“There could not be a stronger rebuke to the Biden-Harris administration, whose pro-abortion agenda is deeply unpopular with Americans of all stripes,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List. “The states are sending an unmistakable message to pro-abortion Democrats nationwide—and to the Supreme Court—that the pro-life movement will never rest until unborn children and their mothers are protected in the law.”
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