AUL Life List All Stars: Legislative leaders in 2012
Every year, Americans United for Life gives each state a pro-life ranking based on its cumulative efforts to enact and enforce life-affirming laws and policies. This year, in addition to the “Life List,” AUL is honoring five states that achieved significant pro-life success in 2012.
We are pleased to recognize the 2013 AUL “All Stars” – five states that displayed outstanding initiative and tenacity in the defense of Life:
1. Arizona (2013’s Top “All Star”)
In 2012, Arizona became the first state to enact AUL’s “Women’s Health Defense Act,” prohibiting abortions at or after 20-weeks gestation based on the well-documented dangers of late-term abortions to women’s health and the pain experienced by unborn children. Importantly, Arizona was the first state with a late-term abortion prohibition to predicate that prohibition on concerns for women’s health and not solely on the pain experienced by unborn children (as 11 other states have done).
With the help of both AUL’s model legislation and AUL’s active consultation, Arizona also enacted provisions in an omnibus (legislative) measure that regulate the provision of abortion-inducing drugs, improve the effectiveness of existing regulations on abortion clinics, mandate that women receiving negative prenatal diagnoses be given information about perinatal hospice, and require the performance of an ultrasound at least 24 hours before an abortion.
Finally, Arizona also moved to limit taxpayer funding to abortion providers, prohibiting family planning contracts with or grants to abortion providers including Planned Parenthood. In doing so, Arizona joined 14 other states that have enacted laws or taken administrative action that directly or indirectly withholds taxpayer funds from abortion providers.
In 2012, Georgia moved to protect both those at the beginning and those at the end of life.
With the help of AUL, Georgia enacted a prohibition on abortions at or after 20-weeks gestation and revised the state’s reporting requirements for late-term abortions, requiring an abortion provider to report the medical diagnosis that necessitated the procedure.
Georgia also enacted a law that makes it a felony to assist in another person’s suicide. This legislation was prompted by a February 2012 decision by the Georgia Supreme Court striking down a 1994 law prohibiting publicly advertising suicide assistance.
Further, Georgia also enacted a measure that includes abortion clinics, or “reproductive healthcare facilities,” in the definition of mandatory reporters for suspected child sexual abuse. This measure was developed by AUL legal experts and is a direct response to growing evidence that abortion providers are not reporting the suspected abuse of children.
3. New Hampshire
Courageous New Hampshire legislators made tremendous strides in 2012 to protect and defend Life. Notably, they overrode Governor John Lynch’s veto of a prohibition on partial-birth abortion, joining 19 other states that have also banned the dangerous and grisly practice.
New Hampshire also adopted AUL’s model resolution honoring pregnancy care centers, recognizing the centers for their compassionate and professional service to women, their families, and the community. Since 2010, 14 states have passed resolutions affirming the work and commitment of pregnancy care centers.
Legislators also enacted improvements to the state’s parental notice requirement, revising the law’s judicial bypass procedure to give the court two business days (rather than 48 hours) to rule on a bypass request, and a measure requiring the state Department of Health to collect, compile, and maintain abortion statistics and to prepare and submit an annual report.
Virginia enacted an ultrasound requirement that is based, in substantial part, on AUL’s model language. Recognizing that the performance of an ultrasound is the “gold standard” of patient care, the measure requires the performance of an ultrasound before an abortion and that the woman be given an opportunity to view the ultrasound and have it explained to her.
In 2012, with the approval of comprehensive health and safety standards for abortion clinics, Virginia continued progress toward protecting women from the substandard conditions and practices that are all-too-common at some abortion clinics. The state Board of Health, with input and support from AUL, had been working on the standards since 2011, when the enabling legislation was signed into law by Governor Bob McDonnell.
Finally, with the assistance of AUL, Virginia enacted a measure permitting a family to bring a wrongful death (civil) action in the death of an unborn child. Virginia joined 39 other states that already permitted such lawsuits.
5. South Carolina
South Carolina became the eighth state to enact AUL’s “Abortion-Mandate Opt-Out Act,” prohibiting insurance plans that cover abortions from participating in any Exchanges (required to be operational in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare”) operating within the state.
Also, after years of effort and with the support of AUL, South Carolina enacted legal protections for infants who are born-alive following attempted abortions. The new law ensures that infants who survive attempted abortions have the same legal status, rights, and protections as other citizens of the state and cannot be denied medical care and simply left to die.