If we can’t look to Washington for good news, then we can look to the states, Kansas and North Dakota in particular. Pro–lifers have been on the move in both states, and their state legislatures have responded by passing a host of pro–life bills.
Let’s start with North Dakota, where the state legislature has been especially busy. Not only did it pass a personhood amendment—the first legislature in the nation to do so—but it also passed:
• a heartbeat bill banning abortions as early as six weeks (which we at PRI were pushing). Once the fetal heartbeat is detected, the child cannot be aborted, under this law. This would end over 80% of all abortions, a huge step toward banning all abortions. The bill also clearly states that, in banning abortions after the heartbeat is detected, it is in no way condoning abortions before that point.
• a bill requiring abortionists to have hospital admitting privileges. This means that anyone who performs abortions must be able, when the abortion goes awry, as it frequently does, to admit the wounded mother to a nearby hospital.
• a ban on abortions past 20 weeks on the grounds that babies can feel pain at that point. Evidence shows that they can probably feel pain a lot earlier, but this is a start.
• a ban on taxpayer funding going to organizations that perform abortions. This would stop funding from going to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country. The more funding we are able to cut, the more clinics they are forced to close.
• a ban on abortions for genetic conditions like Down Syndrome. Statistics show that the majority of children diagnosed with Down Syndrome before birth are aborted, simply because they have an extra chromosome.
The Governor, Jack Dalrymple, a Republican, has aleady signed the heartbeat bill. He is expected to sign the other measures as well, thus banning most abortions in North Dakota. The personhood amendment will be voted upon in the state during the elections in November of 2014.
Kansas, which I recently visited, is not far behind. The Sunflower State has passed:
• a bill banning sex selection abortions (which I testified in favor of before the state legislature.) Although sex selection abortion is not practices to the same degree in America as it is in India and China, it is still very much a reality. The abortion industry, including Planned Parenthood, is complicit with this form of discrimination against girls. Indeed, Sex-Selective Abortion is the worst form of discrimination imaginable, since it is a discrimination that kills.
• no tax funding for abortion or tax advantages for abortionists and their business. Similar to the ban in North Dakota, this would cut funding to the abortion industry.
• no school district sex-ed materials from, or instruction by staff of, abortion businesses. This would help prevent sex-ed from being used as a means of promoting the abortion industry.
• a bill mandating a woman’s “right to-know” what an abortion entails. At least 24 hours before the procedure, she must be provided with details of her child’s gestational age, size and appearance, a clear description of the abortion procedure, and the option to view the ultrasound. She must also be given time to ask any questions she may have before the procedure. These questions must be answered in language she can comprehend. All these requirements must be met for the abortion to be legal. (See bill here: pages 10-13)
• a bill allowing prosecution for injuries and death of unborn children when the mother is a crime victim. This bill acknowledges human life inside the womb, and is an important step toward a personhood amendment.
• a bill banning lawsuits for “wrongful birth” claiming that doctors should have advised abortion. If a child is born with a defect, parents will sometimes file complaints against the doctor for not recommending an abortion, or for not having the equipment necessary to detect a defect. This bill protects the doctors against such lawsuits.
We at PRI applaud North Dakota and Kansas for moving to protect innocent, unborn life. The laws listed above will go a long way towards protecting the unborn, and educating the public that every life is precious and deserving of protection.
North Dakota and Kansas are both vying to become the most pro-life states in the union. May they both win!