State Legislative Report, 2012

Activity from January 1 through May 4, 2012

OVERVIEW

While many states continue their 2012 legislative sessions, 2012 has already seen significant victories for Life throughout the United States.  These victories and substantial pro-life activity have occurred even though all states face a busy election season, and some states are not holding a legislative session.  Americans United for Life, working in 37 states in 2012, provides this “State Legislative Report” to highlight our pro-life victories and outline state-based pro-life activity to-date.  However, victories continue to accumulate and 2012 is shaping up to be a tremendous year for Life.

AUL VICTORIES

Through its state representatives and other significant relationships with state-based allies, AUL is actively working in 37 states to enact life-affirming laws.  So far in 2012, AUL has seen several important victories for Life, including:

  • Arizona became the first state to enact AUL’s model late-term abortion limitation, proscribing abortions at or after 20-weeks gestation based on well-documented dangers to women’s health and fetal pain.
  • Georgia enacted a law that would make 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.
  • Georgia enacted a measure including “reproductive healthcare facilities” in the definition of mandatory reporters for suspected child sexual abuse.
  • South Dakota has enacted AUL’s “Abortion-Mandate Opt-Out Act.”
  • Virginia has enacted an ultrasound requirement that is based, in substantial part, on AUL’s model language.
  • New Hampshire has adopted AUL’s model resolution honoring pregnancy care centers.  AUL provided legislative testimony in support of this measure.
  • AUL once again helped to defeat a measure in Vermont to legalize assisted suicide.
  • With AUL Action’s advice and consultation and based on AUL’s model legislation, Arizona also enacted regulations on the provision of abortion-inducing drugs and supplemented its existing abortion clinic regulations.
  • Arkansas restricted schools that distribute drugs with life-ending mechanisms of action from receiving public funds.
  • AUL worked with allies in Georgia to enact a ban on abortions at or after 20-weeks gestation.

TRENDS

Thus far in 2012, several pro-life legislative trends can be identified.  The most popular abortion-related topics have been (a) prohibitions on government funding and insurance coverage for abortion, (b) legislation and resolutions related to pregnancy care centers, (c) informed consent, (d) ultrasound requirements, (e) restrictions or regulations on abortion-inducing drugs and so-call “telemed” abortions, and (f) abortion clinic regulations and other abortion provider requirements.

  • Interest at the state level in supporting and honoring pregnancy care centers (PCC) has increased in 2012. However, the number of states considering anti-PCC legislation has also increased, growing by approximately 150 percent.
  • The number of states considering bans on abortion has decreased significantly as compared to 2011 activity levels.  Specifically, the number of states considering 20-week bans or partial-birth abortion bans has decreased by more than 50 percent, while the number of states considering post-viability bans has decreased to 10 percent of 2011 activity levels.
  • In 2012, states have considered approximately 65 measures related to biotechnologies, a 50 percent decline from 2011 activity levels.  Notably, no state is currently considering a ban on human cloning and only two states are considering bans on destructive embryo research.
  • Nearly 50 percent of biotechnology-related measures already considered in 2012 (32 measures) relate to assisted reproductive technologies (ART), including in vitro fertilization (IVF). Moreover, the majority of these measures (24 measures) did not involve necessary regulation, but instead related to parentage or insurance coverage of ART.
  • There has been a nearly 40 percent increase in the number of measures introduced to protect healthcare freedom of conscience.
  • As a result of a substantial increase in the number of bills related to pain management and palliative care already introduced this year, measures related to end-of-life issues have increased nearly two-fold (from approximately 105 measures in 2011 to approximately 200 measures this year).

DETAILED ACTIVITY AND ANALYSIS

New State Laws and Adopted Legislative Resolutions

Thus far in 2012, at least 23 new life-affirming laws and 15 pro-life state resolutions have been enacted or adopted.

New laws enacted and important developments thus far in 2012 include:

Abortion:

  • Alaska enacted a measure establishing “Choose Life” license plates.  Proceeds from the sale of the specialty plates will benefit pregnancy care centers.
  • Arkansas enacted two measures maintaining existing prohibitions on the use of educational funds for abortions or abortion referrals.
  • Arizona and Georgia enacted a late-term abortion limitations.
  • Georgia enacted a measure including “reproductive healthcare facilities” in the definition of mandatory reporters for suspected child sexual abuse.
  • South Dakota enacted a measure prohibiting health plans that are offered through the state’s health care Exchange from including abortion coverage.
  • Four states have enacted measures related to informed consent: South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. South Dakota’s new law requires that women exhibiting certain risk factors receive counseling about the mental health risks associated with abortion and amends an existing state law requiring counseling at a pregnancy care center before an abortion.  Utah’s law extends the reflection period before an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours.  Virginia now requires in-person informed consent counseling at least 24 hours before an abortion, while Washington enacted a law which includes abortion under provisions for general informed consent.
  • Tennessee enacted a measure changing the “effective date” of an existing law prohibiting so-called “telemed abortions.”
  • Virginia enacted an ultrasound requirement.
  • Arizona also enacted regulations on the provision of abortion-inducing drugs and supplemented its existing abortion clinic regulations.

Legal Recognition and Protection of the Unborn:

  • Iowa law now provides for stillbirth certificates.
  • Colorado has enacted measures funding substance abuse treatment for pregnant women and prohibiting the use of drug tests performed as part of prenatal care in criminal prosecutions.

Biotechnologies:

  • Colorado enacted an appropriations measure that includes the Adult Stem Cells Cure Fund.
  • Indiana enacted a measure which prohibits destructive research on embryos created with an ovum provided to a “qualified third party.”  In other words, the state now prohibits research on embryos created from ova initially provided for in vitro fertilization purposes.
  • Indiana also enacted a measure prohibiting the purchase or sale of a human ovum.  The measure does not prohibit transactions between a woman and a qualified in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic for certain expenses (i.e., earnings lost, travel expenses, medical expenses, or recovery time).
  • Conversely, in Maryland, budget legislation appropriating general funds to the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund (which includes destructive embryo research) was enacted without the governor signature.
  • Similarly, New York adopted a state budget measure appropriating funds to the Empire State Stem Cell Research Account which also promotes destructive research.

End-of-Life:

  • Georgia enacted a law that would make 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.
  • New Mexico enacted a continuing education requirement for non-cancer pain management.
  • Utah enacted a law regulating the use of electronic information for monitoring pain management.

Freedom of Conscience:

  • AUL is working with Alabama and New Hampshire – two of only three states that do not currently protect healthcare freedom of conscience – to enact comprehensive conscience protection.

Legislative resolutions adopted in 2012 include:

  • A resolution by the Missouri House honoring AUL President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest and the work of AUL.
  • Legislative resolutions honoring pregnancy care centers enacted in eight states:  Florida, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
  • Legislative resolutions opposing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “preventive care” mandate enacted in four states: Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Wyoming.
  • A resolution adopted by both chambers of the Tennessee legislature approving a ballot initiative (for the 2014 ballot).  The ballot initiative proposes an amendment to the Tennessee constitution that provides that there is no state constitutional right to abortion.
  • A resolution adopted in West Virginia that expresses concern at the growth in the number and cost of taxpayer-funded abortions and asks HHS to monitor the number of abortions funded by Medicaid.
  • Conversely, resolutions adopted in Georgia and Illinois honored individuals associated with Planned Parenthood, while a resolution adopted in Vermont commemorated the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Abortion

Overall, 41 states have considered at least 337 measures related to abortion, a decrease of approximately 25 percent from 2011 activity levels.

Abortion Funding:

At least 17 states including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, and New York have already introduced measures related to abortion funding.

Most of these states are considering measures to limit abortion funding, but four states—Delaware, Hawaii, Michigan, and Minnesota—are considering measures to expand abortion funding.

Arkansas enacted two measures maintaining existing laws which prohibit the use of educational funds for abortions or abortion referrals.

Abortion Funding in State Budgets:

At least six states including Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Virginia, and West Virginia have included provisions related to abortion funding in their state budgets.

Insurance Coverage of Abortion:

At least 21 states are already considering measures related to insurance coverage of abortion—either through the state health care Exchanges (required by 2014 under the federal healthcare law), Medicaid, or private insurance. These states include Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

South Dakota enacted a measure, based on AUL’s model, prohibiting health plans that are offered through the state health care Exchange from including abortion coverage.

Pregnancy Care Centers:

Interest at the state level in supporting and honoring pregnancy care centers (PCC) has increased in 2012. However, the number of states considering anti-PCC legislation has also increased, growing by approximately 150 percent.

At least 19 states including Alaska, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin are considering measures related to state funding for PCCs and/or legislative resolutions honoring their life-affirming mission.

Of these, at least three states introduced measures to support PCCs through “Choose Life” specialty license plates—Alaska, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.  Notably, Wisconsin is also considering a measure for specialty plates that would express support for Planned Parenthood.

Alaska has already enacted a measure establishing “Choose Life” specialty license plates.  Proceeds from the sale of the plates will benefit pregnancy care centers.

At least 13 states have considered resolutions commending the life-saving work of PCCs—Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.  These resolutions have already been adopted in Florida, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Missouri is considering a measure to protect the religious mission of PCCs.

Conversely, at least five states including Florida, New York, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin are considering measures to unnecessarily regulate or interfere with the work of PCCs.

Informed Consent and Informed Consent Enhancements:

At least 23 states including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin are considering measures related to informed consent for abortion.

South Dakota has enacted a law requiring that women exhibiting certain risk factors receive counseling about mental health risks associated with abortion and amending an existing state law requiring counseling at a PCC before an abortion.

Washington enacted a law which includes abortion under provisions for general informed consent.

Reflection Period Before Abortion:

At least 11 states including Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Utah have introduced measures requiring  a reflection period (usually 24 hours) before a woman may undergo an abortion.

Utah passed a measure which extends the reflection period from 24 hours to 72 hours.

Virginia now requires in-person informed consent counseling at least 24 hours before an abortion.

“Heartbeat” Informed Consent:

At least six states including Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, and Oklahoma are considering measures to give a woman the opportunity to hear the heartbeat of her unborn child before an abortion.

Anti-Coercion Measures:

At least 11 states including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wisconsin are considering measures prohibiting the use of coercion to compel a woman’s decision on abortion and/or informing women that no one may use coercion to compel a decision about abortion.

Informed Consent Concerning Prenatal Diagnosis:

At least two states – Arizona and Florida – are considering measures to require that a woman who receives a negative prenatal diagnosis be given certain information before she may elect to have an abortion.

Arizona is considering a measure to require that information on perinatal hospice be given to a woman who receives a negative prenatal diagnosis.

Florida is considering a measure that would require resources and counseling are given to women who receive prenatal test results indicating a developmental disability such as Down syndrome.

Ultrasound Requirements:

At least 17 states including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia are considering ultrasound requirements for abortion.

Virginia enacted a requirement, based in substantial part on AUL’s model language, that a woman undergo an ultrasound and have the opportunity to view the images before an abortion.

Abortion Inducing Drugs and “Telemed” Abortions:

At least 12 states including Alabama, Arizona, California, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Wisconsin are considering measures to regulate abortion-inducing drugs and/or the practice of so-called “telemed” abortions.

Arizona law now requires that abortion providers follow the protocol approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) when administering RU-486 and other abortion-inducing drugs.

Tennessee has enacted a measure changing the “effective date” of an existing law prohibiting so-called “telemed” abortions.

Abortion Clinic Regulation and Abortion Provider Requirements:

Abortion Clinic Regulations:

At least 18 states including Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia are considering measures regulating abortion clinics and/or individual abortion providers.

As part of an omnibus abortion measure, Arizona revised its existing abortion clinic regulations.  The revisions include procedures for the reporting of serious injuries, requirements for hospital admitting privileges, and new penalties for noncompliance.

Abortion Reporting:

At least 12 states including Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and West Virginia are considering measures related to abortion reporting.

Sex Abuse Reporting By Abortion Providers:

At least four states including Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, and West Virginia are considering measures to require abortion providers and clinics to report child/sexual abuse.

Georgia enacted a measure including “reproductive healthcare facilities” in the definition of mandatory reporters for suspected child sexual abuse.

State Constitutional Amendments:

At least eight states including Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Vermont, and West Virginia are considering abortion-related amendments to their state constitutions.

State Freedom of Choice Acts:

At least four states including Florida, New York, Vermont, and Wisconsin are considering state “Freedom of Choice Acts” (FOCA) or similar measures to protect the “right” to abortion.

Abortion Bans:

The number of states considering bans on abortion has decreased significantly as compared to 2011 activity levels.  Specifically, the number of states considering 20-week bans or partial-birth abortion bans has decreased by more than 50 percent, while the number of states considering post-viability bans has decreased to 10 percent of 2011 activity levels.

At least 15 states including Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin are considering measures to ban abortions.

Of these, at least 11 states are considering measures to ban abortion at 20-weeks gestation: Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Rhode Island Virginia, and West Virginia.

Arizona has enacted AUL’s late-term abortion limitation.

Georgia has enacted a ban on abortions at or after 20-weeks gestation based on the pain felt by an unborn child.

At least five states are considering measures to ban sex and race-based abortion:  Florida, Missouri, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

At least three states are considering abortion bans at the point that an unborn child has a heartbeat: Kentucky, Minnesota, and Mississippi.

At least two states are considering measures to ban partial-birth abortion:  New Hampshire and Wisconsin, while New Jersey is considering a measure to ban abortion at 24-weeks gestation (defined as viability in the measure).

New Hampshire is also considering measure to ban third-trimester abortions.

Parental Involvement:

At least nine states including Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington are considering laws related to parental involvement (notification or consent) for abortion.

“Emergency Contraception”

So far in 2012, at least eight states and the District of Columbia are considering approximately 17 measures relating to so-called “emergency contraception.”

Emergency Room Access:

At least four states including Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, and Ohio have considered measures requiring that emergency rooms to provide sexual assault victims with information about and/or access to “emergency contraception.”

Insurance Coverage:

Minnesota has introduced legislation that would require insurance plans to provide coverage for “all FDA approved contraceptives” (which includes “emergency contraception”).  The bill contains a narrow “religious” exemption.

Conversely, in Idaho, legislation has been introduced to ensure that “abortifacients, sterilization, and contraception” shall not be required coverage in disability insurance policies.  In Tennessee, legislation has been introduced to eliminate “emergency contraception” as a family planning service in the TennCare (Medicaid waiver) and Title X programs.

Legal Recognition and Protection of the Unborn

Fetal Homicide and Assault:

At least eight states including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Tennessee have introduced measures criminalizing the killing of or an assault on an unborn child, amending existing fetal homicide or assault laws, or providing enhanced penalties for these offenses.

Wrongful Death:

Virginia legislators have passed a measure permitting recovery for the death of an unborn child in a wrongful death (civil) action.

Born Alive Infant Protection:

At least five states including Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, South Carolina, and West Virginia have introduced measures providing or enhancing legal protection for an infant born alive following an attempted abortion.

Fetal Death Certificates and Disposal of Fetal Remains:

At least six states including Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and West Virginia are considering measures that authorize fetal death certificates and/or prescribe standards for the burial or disposal of fetal remains.

Iowa’s requirement for fetal death certificates has been enacted.

Substance Abuse by Pregnant Women:

Colorado has enacted two measures funding substance abuse treatment for pregnant women and prohibiting the use of drug tests performed as part of prenatal care in criminal prosecutions.

Biotechnologies

At least 20 states are already considering approximately 65 measures related to biotechnologies. This represents a decline of approximately 50 percent from 2011 activity levels.

Human Cloning:

No states are currently considering prohibitions on human cloning.  While relatively few states typically consider such measures each year, it is surprising that no states are considering any cloning prohibitions in 2012.

Destructive Embryo Research:

At least two states – New Jersey and Virginia – have already considered bans on destructive embryo research.  This low level of activity marks a continued decline in the number of states considering complete bans on destructive research.

The bill in New Jersey also prohibits the creation of embryos solely for research purposes and prohibits the selling of embryos.

In addition, Indiana enacted a measure which prohibits destructive research on embryos created with an ovum provided to a “qualified third party.”  In other words, the state is prohibiting research on embryos created from ova initially provided for in vitro fertilization purposes.

Conversely, at least two states – Connecticut and Massachusetts – have already considered measures promoting destructive embryo research.

Fetal Experimentation:

No states are considering measures banning experimentation on aborted or unborn fetuses.  In fact, a law recently enacted in Indiana prohibiting research on embryos created from certain ova explicitly excludes fetal stem-cell research from its application.

Ethical Forms of Research:

At least one state – New Jersey – is seeking to promote ethical alternatives to destructive embryo research by considering legislation declaring the month of May as “Bone Marrow and Umbilical Cord Blood Donation Awareness Month.”

However, it appears that no other states are considering legislation promoting adult stem cell or umbilical cord blood research, a drastic downturn from past years when several states considered such measures.

State Funding of Biotechnology:

Limitations on Funding of Unethical Forms of Research:

Bans or restrictions on the funding of human cloning and/or embryo research have already been considered in at least two states:  Mississippi and Missouri.  The measure in Missouri proposes an amendment for consideration in November 2012 that would prohibit the funding of human cloning for all purposes.

An additional state – Wisconsin – introduced measures that would create real and personal property tax exemptions for machinery and other tangible personal property used for “qualified research,” but stated that “qualified research” does not include “embryonic stem cell research.”

Funding of Unethical Forms of Research:

At least three states including Illinois, Maryland, and New York are already considering measures providing funding for unethical forms of research.  In Maryland, budget legislation appropriating general funds to the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund was enacted without the governor signature.  Similarly, New York adopted a state budget measure appropriating funds to the Empire State Stem Cell Research Account.

New Jersey is considering measures which suggest that embryonic research raises ethical concerns and that those issues should be considered in state funding, but do not prohibit such funding.

Funding of Ethical Forms of Research:

Colorado enacted an appropriations measure that includes the Adult Stem Cells Cure Fund.

Nebraska is considering a measure creating a “Stem Cell Research Cash Fund” for “nonembryonic research.”

Chimeras:

No states are currently considering bans on the creation of chimeras (human-animal hybrids).

Assisted Reproductive Technologies:

Nearly 50 percent of biotechnology-related measures already considered in 2012 (32 measures) relate to assisted reproductive technologies (ART), including in vitro fertilization (IVF). The majority of these measures (24 measures) did not involve necessary regulation, but instead related to parentage or insurance coverage of ART.

At least six states including Arizona, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Washington are considering measures providing some regulation of ART, such as measures requiring that informed consent information be provided to potential parents or regulating sperm and semen donation.  This level of activity is similar to 2011 levels.  Only one state – New Jersey – is considering a measure allowing only one human ovum to be fertilized at a time for the purposes of IVF.

At least four states including Alabama, Illinois, Maryland, and Rhode Island are considering measures related to parentage and inheritance rights of children conceived using ART.

Finally, at least seven states including Alabama, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, and New Jersey are already considering measures requiring or regulating insurance coverage for ART.

Surrogacy:

At least three states including Arizona, Maryland, and New Jersey are considering measures related to gestational surrogacy.

The measure in Arizona would prohibit surrogacy agreements, while the measures in Maryland and New Jersey would authorize such agreements.

Embryo Adoption:

Only one state – Mississippi – has considered measures related to embryo adoption.

On a related front, New Jersey is considering a measure that would make certain cryopreserved embryos wards of the state, allowing the state to find parents (married couples) for the embryos.

Human Egg Donation:

At least six states including Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Oklahoma are considering varying regulations of gamete donation, such as stipulations of eligibility for egg donation or regulation of compensation.

Indiana enacted a measure prohibiting the purchasing or selling of an ovum.  The measure does not prohibit certain transactions between a woman and a qualified IVF clinic for certain expenses (i.e., earnings lost, travel expenses, medical expenses, or recovery time).

Genetic Discrimination:

One state – Massachusetts – is already considering a measure related to genetic testing.  The bill requires that any person who renders prenatal care, postnatal care, or genetic counseling to parents with an unborn child diagnosed with Down syndrome to provide up-to-date information about Down syndrome.  The information must include physical, developmental, educational, and psychosocial outcomes, life expectancy, intellectual and functional development, and treatment options, as well as information on educational and support groups.

Healthcare Freedom of Conscience (ROC)

Thus far in 2012, at least 18 states have considered approximately 32 measures related to healthcare freedom of conscience – an increase of nearly 40 percent from 2011 activity levels.

Protection for Freedom of Conscience:

With help from AUL, New Hampshire and Alabama, two of only three states that currently lack any statutory protections for healthcare providers’ freedom of conscience, have introduced and debated “comprehensive” conscience protection bills.

Comprehensive conscience protection legislation was also introduced in at least five other states including Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.  (However, bills in Alabama, Missouri, and Nebraska have already been amended to limit their protections.)

Conversely, at least four states including Arizona, Missouri, New Jersey, and West Virginia are considering legislation forcing pharmacists and/or pharmacies to stock and dispense “emergency contraception.”

Moreover, in at least three states with existing “contraceptive” (insurance) mandates including Arizona, New Hampshire, and New Jersey, legislation was introduced to include or expand exemptions for religious-based objections.

Response to the HHS “Preventive Care” Mandate:

At least nine states including Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wyoming have introduced resolutions opposing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that nearly all insurance plans fully cover “all FDA approved contraceptives” (which includes the abortion-inducing drug ella).  Most of these resolutions urge that HHS repeal its mandate and that the U.S. Congress take legislative action to protect the freedom of conscience.

The resolutions in Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Wyoming have already been adopted.

Conversely, resolutions supporting the HHS mandate were introduced in at least two states: Michigan and New Jersey.

End of Life

Because of the large number of bills related to pain management and palliative care already introduced this year, measures related to end-of-life issues have increased nearly two-fold (from approximately 105 measures in 2011 to approximately 200 measures this year).

Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia:

At least seven states including Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington are considering or have considered measures related to assisted suicide.  This is a slight reduction from last year’s activity levels, when 10 states considered measures related to assisted suicide.

Georgia enacted a law that would make 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.

In Massachusetts, two bills have been introduced to permit physician-assisted suicide, including a ballot initiative.  Lawmakers have until May 2012 to back the ballot initiative, offer a different proposal, or allow the measure to be included on the November 2012 ballot.

In Vermont, measures to legalize physician-assisted suicide have been defeated.

Washington is again considering a requirement that the physician who signs a patient’s death certificate, when the patient dies from assisted suicide, designate that assisted suicide was the cause of death.

In the remaining three states—Hawaii, New York, and Pennsylvania—measures permitting physician-assisted suicide have been introduced.

Life-Sustaining Treatments and Futile Care:

At least five states including Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, New Hampshire, and Tennessee are considering measures specifically dealing with the provision or withholding of life-sustaining treatments, particularly nutrition and hydration.  This is an increase from last year when three states considered such measures.

Idaho is considering an amendment to their “Medical Consent and Natural Death Act” that will strengthen protections for a patient who has expressed a desire to continue life-sustaining care (through advance directives or those authorized to consent for him or her).

Advance Planning Documents (e.g., Advance Directives, Living Wills, Healthcare Powers of Attorney, Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Orders, Proxies, and Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)):

Again this year, while many states are considering measures creating or modifying traditional advance planning documents (e.g., advance directives, Living Wills), the trend of adopting Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Paradigm programs continues.

At least two states – Iowa and Illinois – have created POLST programs.

Kentucky and Rhode Island are also considering POLST-related statutes.  Conversely, a POLST-related measure failed in Wyoming.

Vermont, which currently has a POLST program, is considering changes to their program.

At least 18 states including Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia are considering or have enacted measures related to advance planning documents, with some states considering more than one related measure.

End-of-Life Counseling and Patients’ “Bills of Rights”:

Mississippi again considered a “bill of rights” for patients and residents of healthcare facilities, but the measure failed.

Pain Management and Palliative Care:

At least 26 states including Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming are considering or have enacted measures relating to pain management and palliative care, with some states considering more than one measure.  This represents a twofold increase from 2011 activity levels.

Provisions enacted thus far in 2012 include a continuing education requirement for non-cancer pain management in New Mexico and a law regulating the use of electronic information for monitoring pain management in Utah.

MOVING FORWARD

As the 2012 state legislative sessions continue, AUL remains a leader in the efforts to protect Life from birth through natural death.  AUL continues to lay the groundwork for the ultimate reversal of Roe v. Wade, while working to eliminate taxpayer funding of abortion and protecting women and girls from the harms inherent in abortion, including increasingly predatory practices of the scandal-ridden abortion industry. As we continue to accumulate victories, AUL will maintain its aggressive fight against the pro-abortion lobby until all are welcomed in life and protected in law.