Tag archives: State of the States

State of Public Opinion on Pro-Life Laws

by Family Research Council

July 25, 2011

One of highlights of the various 2011 state legislative sessions is the successful passage of many solid pro-life bills. According to a recent report by Guttmacher, 80 bills restricting abortion were passed in 19 states, more than tripling the 23 passed last year. This impressive number not only sets a record for the most life-affirming bills passed in one year, but it also more than doubles the previous record of 34 bills in 2005.

Some abortion advocates suggest that this is an example of legislators with extreme right-wing social ideologies pushing their agenda on the people in their state who likely do not agree with them on these issues. They even go so far as to assert that there has been an all out attack on women by these state legislators.

Now, thanks to Gallup poll data released today, we can check those assertions. Are these pro-life legislators out of touch or do they reflect the feelings of the majority of Americans? Are women feeling attacked and fighting back, or do they support and advocate bills that require their doctor to fully inform them of potential abortion risks, show them an ultrasound, and get parental consent for minors to receive an abortion?

Gallup says:

Of seven abortion restrictions tested in a July 15-17Galluppoll, informing women of certain risks of an abortion in advance of performing it is the most widely favored, at 87%. Seven in 10 Americans favor requiring parental consent for minors and establishing a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions. Nearly two-thirds favor making the specific procedure known as “partial birth abortion” illegal

 

Data from this poll also affirms a striking consistency in polling data that abortion is not a man verses woman issue, with men pushing pro-life views on women who just want to make choices with their pregnancies. To the contrary, four out of seven pro-life measures addressed in this poll scored a higher percentage of support among women than men!

 

Polling Chart

Read the Poll results in their entirety for yourself here.

State of Health Insurance Abortion Coverage Opt-Outs

by Family Research Council

June 9, 2011

Since the passage of Obamacare, officially titled the Paitient Protection and Affordable Care Act, many states have stepped in to fill the loophole allowing taxpayer funding of abortion. They have accomplished this by passing laws prohibiting abortion coverage in health plans created through the state exchange program set up by Obamacare. Arizona was the first state to do so in April of last year followed by four other states that session. Eight more states have passed laws prohibiting abortion coverage in the 2011 session and eight additional states currently have such legislation pending. The following chart and map gives details:

State Bill Number Date Enacted/Status
Passed in 2010: Total: 5 states
Arizona AZ SB 1305 4/24/10
Tennessee TN SB 2686 5/05/10 (Democrat Gov. did not veto or sign, but allowed bill to become law without his signature.)
Mississippi MS SB 3214 5/24/10
Louisiana LA HB 1247 7/02/10
Missouri MO SB 793 7/23/10 (same scenario as TN)
Passed in 2011: Total: 8 states
Utah UT HB 354 3/23/11
Idaho ID S 1115 4/01/11
Virginia VA HB 2434 4/06/11
Oklahoma OK SB 547 4/20/11
Indiana IN HB 1210 5/10/11
Nebraska NE LB 22 5/18/11
Kansas KS HB 2075 5/25/11
Florida FL H 97 6/02/11
Total passed: 13 states
Not Passed in 2011:
Minnesota MN HF 201 Vetoed (5/25/11)
Montana MT SB 176 Vetoed (4/4/11)
Arkansas AR SB 113 Passed Senate and House with amendments, then House did not transmit bill back to the Senate for them to concur before adjournment (2/2/11)
Georgia GA SB 177 Same path as AR (4/12/11)
Rhode Island RI S 87 Passed Senate (4/6/11)
Alabama AL SB 202 Passed Senate (5/24/11)
Total: 6 states
Pending in 2011 session:
Pennsylvania PN SB 3 Passed Senate
Ohio OH HB 79 Reported out of House committee
Wisconsin WI AB 154/SB 92 In committees of origin
Oregon OR HB 3600 In House committee
Iowa HF 576, HSB 57, SF 38 In committees of origin
Michigan HB 4143/HB 4147 In House committee
South Carolina SC H 3406/S102 In committees of origin
New Jersey NJ A 3085 In Assembly committee
Total: 8 states

State of Health Insurance Abortion Coverage in the States

by Family Research Council

April 27, 2011

An overwhelming majority of Americans oppose using taxpayer money to fund abortion. When asked specifically if they supported or opposed the use of public funds to provide coverage for abortion in health insurance plans created by Obamacare, 72% of Americans were in opposition! Only 23% percent supported publicly funded abortion coverage in insurance plans, and 5% did not know (Quinnipiac 2009).

In an effort to reflect the will of the people, 9 state governments have passed laws (and at least 16 more have pending legislation) prohibiting the coverage of abortion in any of the state insurance exchange programs instituted by Obamacare.

Several states have gone beyond this and restricted or proposed legislation restricting abortion coverage in all health insurance plans (public and private) except through the optional purchase of a rider.

In addition, several states which have not completely restricted abortion coverage in all insurance plans have restricted it in state-funded (read: taxpayer-funded) insurance plans.

The following map will give you a clear picture of the state of abortion coverage in insurance across the states:

= AL (SB183, SB202 and HB 558), AR (SB113), FL (H97 and S1414), GA (SB4 and SB29), IA (HF576, HSB57, and SF38), IN (SB116), KS (HB2292, HB2377), MI (HB4143 and HB4147), (MT SB176), NE (LB22 and LB132), NJ (A3085), OH (HB79), OR (HB3600), PA (SB3), SC (H3406 and S102), TX (HB552, HB636, HB1816, HB3112, HB3419 and SB404)

= AL (SB201, SB281 and HB557), IN (SB241), KS (HB2292, HB2377), MI (HB4143 and HB4147), MN (Only state-funded insurance: HF201, SF103), NE (LB22), OR (HB3600), SC (H3406), TX (SB404)

State of Montanas Governor

by Family Research Council

April 20, 2011

Simply put, he is a liberal Democrat. And that fact accounts for the recent failure of many Republican-backed pro-life and pro-family bills despite the Republican majorities in both the House and Senate.

One individuals vote can make all the difference in the world, especially when that individual is the governor of a state. This point can be illustrated by looking at two states in particular: Arizona and Kansas. Both of their former governors, staunch democrats Janet Napolitano and Kathleen Sebelius respectively, were appointed to positions by President Barack Obama. Both states now have Republican governors: Jan Brewer in Arizona, and Sam Brownback in Kansas. In recent weeks several pro-life bills have been sent to those governors desks such as a bill prohibiting abortion after 22 weeks based on fetal pain in KS and a bill strengthening abortion clinic regulations in AZ. These and other similar bills would have been met with a ready veto a few years ago, but instead governors Brownback and Brewer were happy to agree with their legislatures and celebrate the bills passage.

Not so with Governor Brian Schweitzer in Montana. Three bills important to many constituents and legislators alike weathered the long process of hearings, votes, and amendments only to receive a prompt veto upon reaching the governors desk.

Senate Bill 176 prohibits the coverage of abortion in insurance plans created through state exchanges set up by Obamacare. The bill quotes a January 2010 Quinnipiac University poll which states that 7 in 10 Americans opposed the use of federal dollars to cover abortion in health insurance plans. Indeed, because of this, eight states have already passed bills that mirror SB 176 (AZ, ID, LA, MO, MS, TN, UT and VA). Unfortunately, Governor Schweitzer gave it a no-go and without a two-thirds majority in both chambers to override his veto whatever the governor says goes.

This is clearly illustrated with the switched votes of many democrat senators on the vote to override the veto of HB 30. This bill would exempt Health Care Sharing Ministries, faith-based, nonprofit organizations, from being regulated as disability insurance companies or policies. It passed both the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities, gaining the votes of Democrat and Republican legislators, however, when pressed to vote to override the Governors veto, many Democrat’s yeas turned into nays.

House Bill 161 repealing the medical marijuana law met a similar fate and was vetoed on April 13th. Click here to see a video highlighting the Governors position on medical marijuana.

Another strong pro-family bill, HB 456, which would have required parental consent for their childs participation in sex education classes in a public school, received a veto the same day. The bill also contained an important clause prohibiting any abortion service provider, such as abortion giant Planned Parenthood, from teaching any courses or offering any materials to students on the school grounds. With this veto the governor sends a message that he believes schools should decide when and how children learn about sex, not their parents.

The good news in all of this is that Governor Brian Schweitzer is term limited. It is not enough, however, to simply breathe a sigh of relief that he will not be running again in 2012. Those who wish to see legislation like that mentioned above signed into law in the future would do well to note that elections have consequences, a governor has an incredible influence on the policy of a state, and voters decide who the governor will be.

State of the 2011 Session in Review: Idaho

by Family Research Council

April 19, 2011

Since the Adjournment of Idahos 2011 legislative session on April 7th, a wide spectrum of adjectives have been used to describe this years proceedings. Governor Otter called it very succesful, while Senate Democrats called the session the worst in their collective memories. Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis said it was a difficult session among some of the worst economic times in memory and Representative Erik Simpson summed it up by quoting Charles Dickens: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”

From a pro-life and pro-family perspective it is easy to agree with the Governor and call Idahos 2011 session very successful indeed. According to Julie Lynde, Executive director at Cornerstone Family Council, Governor Otter signed every piece of pro-life legislation that crossed his desk. And many of those measures were quite significant.

Fetal Pain

Idaho joined Nebraska and Kansas as the third state to prohibit late term abortions (in this case 20 or more weeks) based upon an unborn childs ability to feel pain. This is a huge step toward upholding the value of all life, and in reinforcing the humanity of the unborn child. At least 12 other state legislatures are advancing similar measures. (See the Fetal Pain state map here).

Prohibiting Abortion Coverage in Obamacare

With the passage of S 1115, Idaho ensured that abortion will not be covered in health plans created through the Health Exchange instituted in Obamacare. Seven other states have passed this same law (AZ, LA, MO, MS, TN, UT, VA) and at least 17 other states have introduced similar measures. The passage of this bill ensures that the current law in Idaho, which prohibits abortion coverage in all health insurance plans, will not be jeopardized by Obamacare.

In addition, a resolution was passed (HCR 23) which removed a dangerous Health and Welfare Medicaid rule that could be used to fund teen abortions and potentially circumvent existing parental consent laws.

Not only was unborn life further protected by the legislature this year, but life was also protected until natural death with the passage of S 1070 prohibiting physician assisted suicide.

Fiscally speaking it was also a productive session. Governor Otter was an active proponent of a bill that was passed to balance the budget without raising taxes and several educational reform bills removing collective bargaining for teachers, instilling a merit-based pay system, and shifting allocation of school funds toward technology.

Very successful seems to be an adequate description of this years session, though it is easy to see how some might disagree. Perhaps Senate President Pro Tempore Brent Hill sums it up best of all when he says: History will tell if this session was a great accomplishment or failure. Anyone who claims we haven’t accomplished much wasn’t paying attention.

State of the 2011 Session in Review: Maryland

by Family Research Council

April 12, 2011

Maryland legislators ended their three month session yesterday, April 11th. The completion of this years session brought the passage of bills that would raise the alcohol tax by three percent, increase the buffer zone between picketers and funerals, provide incentives for facilities that create energy by burning trash and many others. But more notable than what was passed, is what was not passed.

Same-Sex Marriage

Contrary to many predictions that Maryland would soon become the 6th state to legalize same-sex marriage, SB 116, which would accomplish that goal, failed to pass the House of Delegates and was recommitted to the House Judiciary Committee. This victory came through the dozens of phone calls and letters from those of you who stand for traditional marriage. Many thanks are due to Derek McCoy, President of the Association of Maryland Families, and their entire staff for the tireless work that was poured into supporting this effort.

This victory for traditional marriage, though huge, is not necessarily a permanent one. Since the bill was recommitted to committee, and not actually voted upon and failed, it can be brought up again next year at its current stage in the process. Indeed, Chuck Butler, chairman of Equality Maryland the states leading LGBT advocacy organization said:

So we agreed that if we could not pass the bill this year, we should try again next year. Importantly, House leadership committed to bringing up the bill again in 2012. To preserve our prospects of success, therefore, it was best not to hold a vote now, given the chances of the bills defeat by a wide margin. It would be more difficult, within a year, to convert no votes to yes than to obtain a yes from delegates who had not locked in their position with an actual vote.

Therefore we must remain ever vigilant on this issue, because homosexual activists certainly will.

Gender Identity

Another bill that ended in the did not pass category was HB 235, the gender identity bill which would prohibit alleged discrimination against a person based upon their gender identity. The concept of gender identity attempts to legitimize a person’s wish, perception or belief that he or she is actually the opposite sex than his or her own sex at birth. This type of legislation tries to normalize and mainstream transgendered behavior such as cross-dressing. House Bill 235 was recommitted to the Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee by a vote of 27 to 20.

These two victories in one of the most liberal states in the union are welcome news for everyone who stands for conservative family values!

For a more complete list of legislation that was passed (or failed) in Maryland this legislative session, click here.

State of Abortion Clinic Regulations in the States

by Family Research Council

April 6, 2011

Ambulatory Surgical Centers exist in all 50 states across the US. They are health care facilities that perform surgical procedures not requiring overnight hospitalization. They can also be known as outpatient facilities, performing pain management, diagnostic, and other minor surgical procedures. Under this definition it makes sense that an abortion facility would fall under the category of an Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) and should thus be regulated as one, however, prior to the 2011 legislative session only one state, Missouri, defined and regulated their abortion clinics as Ambulatory Surgical Centers. This lack of regulation of a procedure that has been documented to pose health risks to women is a dangerous oversight which needs correcting.

Fortunately, we are now starting to see this course-correction happening across the states. Since the horrific discovery of Kermit Gosnells House of Horrors in Philadelphia which facilitated the death of at least seven infants after they were born alive and two women, there has been a push in many state legislatures to further regulate abortion clinics.

In Virginia, Governor Bob McDonnell recently signed legislation that causes abortion clinics to be regulated like hospitals and instructs the Department of Health to create specific regulations to that end. The language for those regulations has yet to be finalized.

Delaware, also home to clinics where Kermit Gosnell performed his gruesome abortions, recently passed legislation through the House of Representatives (HB 47) that would further regulate abortion clinics (thought they are not mentioned by name).

In Arkansas a bill requiring clinics that perform ten or more surgical or chemical abortions a month to be licensed with the Department of Health (HB 1855) has been sent to the governors desk. Other measures regulating abortion clinics are also moving through the AR legislature.

The Illinois House voted yesterday on an amendment to a bill (HB 2093) that would require child abuse to be reported by more workers in centers that provide reproductive health care than currently required. Planned Parenthood and other organizations are opposing this bill, as well as another bill, HB 3156, that regulates abortion clinics as Ambulatory Surgical Centers.

Other state efforts to further regulate abortion clinics or define them as Ambulatory Surgical Centers can be seen in the second figure below and their corresponding state bill numbers can be referenced as well.

Gosnells House of Horrors is by no means the only place where deaths and other tragic abortion abuses have occurred. Amazingly, despite the publicity following Kermit Gosnell, abortion giant Planned Parenthood continues to lobby against such regulations just as they did against similar regulations that were designed in Pennsylvania to stop butchers like Gosnell.

Note: Information for the above map was gained from Americans United for Life.

IA (SF 40), IL (HB 3156), KS (HB 2337 and SB 165), KY (SB47), MD (HB 23 and SB 505), OK (HB 1548), OR (SB 901), PA (HB574) and TN (HB 956 and SB 47)

AZ (SB 1390), IN (HB 1204 and SB 328), OK (HB1642) and TX (HB 2787)

DE (HB 47), IN (HB 1474), MD (HB 18, HB 19, HB 20, HB 187, and HB 746), MI (HB 150, HB 4119, HB 4120, SB 54 and SB 55), MO (HB 483), ND (HB 1297), NM (SB 225), OK (HB 1970), TN (HB 435 and SB 642) and TX (HB 2555 and HB 3446)

State of the States: Indiana

by Family Research Council

April 4, 2011

Indiana is one of twelve states that define marriage as between one man and one woman in their statutes, but not in their constitution. Many proponents of traditional marriage are hopeful that this will soon change as HJR 6, a constitutional marriage protection amendment, has now successfully passed both the House and Senate. Before its addition to the Indiana Constitution however, it will need to pass next years legislative body as well, and then be approved by the voters. Still, successful passage of this first step is definitely something to be celebrated by those desiring to protect a rightful definition of marriage, one of the most foundational institutions of society. Further emphasizing the sacred bonds of marriage, SB 119 defines a Covenant Marriage and provides legal grounds for male and female couples to declare their marriage a Covenant Marriage.

There are many bills this session that regulate or restrict abortion, including several bills that address its funding. House Bill 1210 covers everything from restricting abortion based on an unborn childs ability to feel pain, to requiring physicians to inform women of the potential risks involved in an abortion and requiring the physicians to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, to providing funding to health care providers who offer breast cancer screening, to details about fetal development materials which must be placed on the state departments website. It recently passed the house with a vote of 72 to 23, and is now in the Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services.

Other bills concerning abortion include:

HB 1204 - Requires an abortion doctor to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

HB 1205 - Prohibits the state from funding abortion or entities that perform abortions.

HB 1228 and SB 488 - Ensures conscience protection for health care workers.

HB 1258 - Establishes requirements for the prescription of an abortion drug.

HB1474 - Requires abortion clinics to file terminated pregnancy forms and specifies the content of those forms.

SB 20 - Prohibits the state from entering into a contract with or making grants to Planned Parenthood and cancels any current state funding.

SB 50 - Requires a woman to view an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion.

SB 116 - Prohibits health insurance plans established under Obamacare from providing coverage of abortion.

SB 241 - Prohibits insurance coverage of elective abortion unless it is through a separate rider.

SB 328 and SB 457 - Specifies what information should be given a woman in order for her to make an informed consent to an abortion.

SB 522 - Prohibits abortion after 20 weeks based on the unborn childs capacity to feel pain.

And finally, SB 290 which makes it illegal to perform an abortion at any stage in the pregnancy except to save the life of the woman.

Also sitting in committee is a Bias Crimes bill (HB 1332) which would allow the perpetrator of a crime to receive a harsher sentence if it was determined that the victim was acted upon because of his or her gender identity or sexual orientation. These types of bills are dangerous because they seek to legalize the punishment of thoughts and motives in addition to criminal actions.

All bills can be accessed by clicking on their number. For a complete list of legislation FRC is tracking or to check the status of these bills click here for our legislative tracker.

State of the States: Kansas

by Family Research Council

March 30, 2011

Mirroring a bill passed last year in Nebraska, the Kansas legislature recently gave final approval to a measure prohibiting abortions after 21 weeks based on an unborn childs ability to feel pain. This measure, HB2218, has now been sent to Governor Sam Brownback who is expected to sign it. Passage of this legislation signals a huge step toward fully protecting and valuing unborn human life. It also sets a precedent among states, the majority of which currently protect life at fetal viability, a stage which can be hard to definitively determine. Kansas is not alone in their effort to protect unborn children who can feel pain, 12 other states currently have similar legislation (ID, OK, OR, AR, AL, GA, SC, FL, MS, MN, IA, IN).

Another pro-life bill passed by the legislature was HB2035. It defines the criteria for those required to report cases of suspected child abuse and broadens it to include those who work or volunteer at organizations that provide pregnancy services to minors. Also included are reporting requirements for abortion providers; a provision allowing a woman to file suit if an abortion was performed upon her illegally; and a parental consent requirement among other things.

On the topic of abortion, other bills in the legislature would prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion (HB2377), specify licensing requirements of abortion clinics (HB2337, SB36, SB45 and SB165), create health exceptions to late-term abortions (HB2007), and address abortion coverage in health insurance (HB2292 and HB2293).

In other areas, the legislature recently passed a bill requiring citizens to present valid ID before voting and in order to register to vote. Provisions of the law do not start going into effect until January 1st, 2012.

Currently in committees of origin are bills that establish covenant marriages and enact divorce reform (HB2254), prohibit public funding of human cloning (HB2214), and include sexual orientation and gender identity in state law prohibiting discrimination (SB53). Also of note is a bill which has passed the house and is now in a senate committee that addresses the method of selecting judges (HB2101).

For more on the issue of fetal pain please read The Science of Fetal Pain by Jeanne Monahan.

State of Abortion Funding in the States

by Family Research Council

March 25, 2011

With the recent passage of the Continuing Resolution here in DC there has been much debate about whether taxpayer money should be used to fund abortion. Currently, due to provisions in various federal appropriations bills, federal tax dollars are not supposed to be used to fund the procedure of abortion. President Obama changed all this, first by eliminating the long standing policy called the Dornan Amendment that prohibited all funds that Congress approved for D.C.(both local and federal) from being used for elective abortions. With a liberal majority in the last Congress, language contained in a Continuing Resolution banned only the use of federal funds for elective abortions. This change by pro-abortion legislators gutted the entire policy, because the District government could then use taxpayer funds to pay for abortion as long as a bookkeeping sleight-of-hand was employed to claim the abortions were being paid for with District of Columbia tax monies. President Obamas second successful attempt to federally fund abortions was through his health care legislation, which both funds and subsidizes the abortion industry.

In addition to the aforementioned examples, nothing currently prevents millions of dollars of grant money and subsidies from being allocated to the scandal-plagued abortion giant Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers annually. This money goes to fund their non-abortion services, effectively freeing up their other funds to finance not only the hundreds of thousands of abortions they perform each year, but also their lobbying efforts to stop any piece of legislation that seeks to protect the life of the mother or her unborn child.

Congress is not the only entity that is currently addressing this grave misuse of Americans hard earned tax dollars; several state governments have also taken up the issue of taxpayer funding of abortion. As noted in the map below, four states have proposed constitutional amendments prohibiting the public funding of abortion. Even more noteworthy, four additional states have proposed legislation not only aimed at denying direct funding of abortion but also denying funding to any entity that provides elective abortions. Two states in particular, New Hampshire and Indiana, have called out Planned Parenthood by name, emphasizing the fact that they will not be receiving state funds, and Montana has specifically not allocated any funds to Planned Parenthood in their state budget.

In addition to the states below that have addressed the issue of taxpayer funding of abortion, many other states have introduced bills that would prohibit coverage of abortion in health insurance plans (both state and private plans). These measures are not addressed in the following map.

For further information check out the Chiaroscuro Foundation’s report: Does Planned Parenthood Need or Deserve Federal Funds? An Analysis of Planned Parenthood’s Revenue and Services

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