Abortion versus the States

With the 2015 March for Life two weeks behind us, states across the country are debating and voting on bills related to life issues.  From "telemed" abortions to parental notification and consent, U.S. legislatures continue to defy the "science is settled" one-size-fits-all Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court decisions, seeking to protect human life in a way that makes sense for them locally.

Here's a rundown:

Arkansas: The State House has voted to ban "telemedicine" abortions, in which an abortionist in a remote location, conversing with a pregnant mother via Skype or some other call service, okays the mother to take abortion drugs without ever having an in-person consultation.

The bill does not ban chemical abortions, but rather requires that abortionists be physically present to administer the drugs to mothers.  Rep. Julie Mayberry, who introduced the House Bill 1076, called the legislation something her colleagues on both sides " can feel good about[.]"  "If you are on the other side of the abortion debate, you too can feel good about this bill[.] ... This bill keeps chemical abortion legal ... and it also makes it safer[.]"

Telemed or webcam abortions flout FDA protocol for RU-486, the abortion drug prescribed to kill early-term babies in the womb.  Planned Parenthood vigorously defends its contempt for FDA guidelines on this point, even going so far as to fund a dubious study on the virtues of making its own rules.

Kansas: Senate Bill 95, unflinchingly called the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act, bans dilation and evacuation abortions, in which abortionists use clamps to rip out the arms and legs of well-formed late-term fetuses.  Dr. Anthony Levatino, a reformed abortionist, describes the procedure, which he performed thousands of times, here.

(Interesting coverage from this local outlet – while the language is sympathetic to abortion ("It's a process used in about 8% of abortions and is the safest for women in their second trimester"), the imagery in the video comprises an ultrasound image of a recognizable human profile and a model of an undeniable human baby in the womb.)

Missouri: State Rep. Linda Black wants to "enhance" a bill requiring physicians to present potential patients with abortion information in written form.  The new bill would require these patients to watch a video, which, Black says, will account for those who cannot read or do not process written information well.

In addition, Rep. Kathryn Swan, a former nurse, introduced two bills to ensure annual inspections of abortion facilities – meaning Planned Parenthood of St. Louis, which is the only one left in the state.  Planned Parenthood responded to the legislation by complaining that annual inspections of a medical facility look "politically motivated."

All this on top of two bills introduced last week to expand parental notification requirements when minors seek abortions.

Montana: The state Supreme Court wants court hearings held on whether parental notification for minors' abortions is constitutional.  After Planned Parenthood sued the state in 1995 over the issue, Montana voters, via two ballot measures, demanded notification requirements for minors under 16 and under 18 in 2011 and 2013, respectively.  Planned Parenthood sued again, but the Supreme Court sent the case back to the District Court, ruling that the 1995, 2011, and 2013 laws are not the same issues and thus require separate adjudication.

"Make no mistake," local Planned Parenthood president Martha Stahl said – "this is not over."

Washington: Parental notification is the order of the day here, too.  The bill inspired a tumultuous hearing in the state Senate, with one witness in favor, who had had an abortion at 16, testifying that "[w]ith parental notification, I wouldn't have had to spend six years of my life trying to hide my wounds and trying to hide my feelings[.]"

Sen. Mike Padden, the former judge who introduced the bill, stated that "[o]ur Senate is more pro-life after the elections last year than it was before the elections[.]"  He thinks the parental notification law would "put Washington closer to the mainstream on the issue," according to the Union-Bulletin.

Wyoming: A legislative committee shot down a bill that would require a doctor to inform a prospective abortion patient of the possibility of seeing an ultrasound image and hearing the heartbeat of her baby.  For some reason, the House Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee was tasked with analyzing the bill.

Arguments in favor of abortion, including from four Republicans on the nine-member committee who voted against it, ranged from "just starting graduate school and couldn't afford to become a parent" and "[i]t's not this body's job to prevent people from making decisions that they might regret[.]"

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that abortion restrictions throughout the fifty states were unconstitutional and unenforceable.  Since then, over 57 million children have been legally killed in America.  To see states debating the issue anyway is not only heartening for those innocents who might yet be saved, but also encouraging for Americans who would like to see federalism revitalized in their country.

Drew Belsky is American Thinker's deputy editor.  Contact him at drew@americanthinker.com, and follow him on Twitter @DJB627.