Friday, March 11, 2011

Pro-life Legislation in Multiple States and US Congress

Pro-life legislation is on the move across the country, including in South Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas.

A groundbreaking bill in South Dakota would create a template for other states, said Allen Unruh, co-founder of the Alpha Center, a group of pregnancy centers in the state. He said: “It does three things: It stops all coerced abortions. Every woman has to sign an affidavit that she’s not being coerced. Second, the abortionist must examine a woman at least 72 hours before an abortion. That’s a huge deterrent. Third, it requires a woman to go to a pregnancy care center to get counseling before an abortion.”

Pro-abortion groups already have threatened to sue over the measure, which is awaiting Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s signature. Life advocates are raising money to defend the bill in court.
The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday that would protect preborn babies after 20 weeks’ gestation. The measure passed 94-2 without debate and now goes to the Senate.

In Texas, the House and Senate have approved legislation that would provide a woman with an ultrasound image and details of her preborn baby before an abortion. Once a unified version is approved, it will go to Gov. Rick Perry, who supports it.

On the national level a government shutdown is looming, as the U.S. House and Senate continue to debate spending cuts. The resolution that is funding the government expires March 18. Congress may approve another two-week fix or settle on a bill that would cover costs through the end of September.

Life advocates in the House have included four key pro-life provisions in their spending bill (H.R. 1) and are hoping the Senate will follow suit. The amendments would: defund Planned Parenthood; reinstate the Mexico City Policy, which prevents federal funds from going to international groups that promote or perform abortions; defund the U.N. Population Fund; and stop government-funded abortions in Washington, D.C.

“If we’re talking about cutting programs, Planned Parenthood should be on the chopping block,” said Ashley Horne, federal policy analyst at CitizenLink. “Its budget is about $1 billion, with one-third of that coming from government grants and contracts.”

Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., who authored the amendment to defund Planned Parenthood, said life advocates must “seize this moment in history.” “We have never been closer to defunding Planned Parenthood since 1973,” he told supporters.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who chairs the Republican Study Committee’s Budget & Spending Task Force, said life advocates are prepared for a fight. “We need to stop this crazy spending,” he said Monday. “Taxpayers should not be used to take the life of unborn children. There is an opportunity to get to the end zone on this particular issue.”

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