Mixed Reviews On Pro-Life Status
Special Report - January 25, 2011
North Carolina is ranked 29th in the country in an annual report by Americans United for Life (AUL) for how well its laws recognize and protect the fundamental right to life. The AUL report is released as a part of Defending Life 2011, a legal guide published since 2006, which seeks to provide “the necessary building blocks for a culture that respects and protects life” and advocates laws that do the same.
As part of the report, AUL compiled a list of 38 pieces of model legislation for pro-life laws. AUL CEO and president, Dr. Charmaine Yoest, credits AUL’s development of model legislation and a state-based approach to protecting life with “changing the momentum towards life at the state level.” She said in a press release, “We are seeing a cultural shift toward protecting life and rolling back the tide of unrestricted abortions that Roe v. Wade produced. The results reveal that legislation action at the state level is turning the tide toward life with strategic refinement of the law.”
In ranking the states for the annual Life List, AUL considered:
- Laws related to abortion including informed consent, parental involvement, abortion clinic regulations, limitations on funding for abortion, and support of abortion alternatives.
- Laws that protect unborn victims of violence.
- Laws related to biotechnologies including human cloning, stem-cell research, uses of prenatal and genetic testing, and assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization.
- Laws impacting the end of life.
- Laws protecting the freedom of conscience of health care providers, institutions, and payers.
Oklahoma ranked first in the report (up from 15th in 2006), followed by Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and Texas. At the bottom of the list were: New Jersey Vermont, Hawaii, California, and Washington. With assisted suicide being approved at the polls in the November 2008 election and a state “Freedom of Choice Act,” which solidifies abortion rights, Washington was named as the least life-friendly state in the nation. The most improved states from 2010-2011 were Missouri and Arizona, respectively. North Carolina’s rank dropped in 2011 from 27th in 2009 and 2010.
In related news, a report released January 14 by NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation gave North Carolina a D+ grade for its statutory support for abortion. The 20th edition of Who Decides? The Status of Women’s Reproductive Rights in the United States raises concerns that the results of the 2010 midterm elections, especially a shift in control in many state legislatures, could result in a wave of pro-life legislation across the country. It looked at the breakdown of pro-life, pro-choice, and mixed-choice legislators in Congress and state governments, and graded each state individually on its friendliness to abortion supportive legislation.
In Congress, the report highlights the 42 additional representatives and six additional Senators who qualify as “Anti-Choice.” As far as state governments are concerned, NARAL counted eight additional “Anti-Choice” governors, two additional “Anti-Choice” state senates, and three additional “Anti-Choice” state houses of representatives. Only six states are considered to have pro-choice governments with both a majority of the legislature and governor favoring abortion rightsCalifornia, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont. NARAL reports 15 pro-life state governments after the electionAlabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.
In addition to giving North Carolina a D+, the report ranked the Tar Heel state 26th in the nation, and classified the new make-up of the General Assembly as “mixed-choice.” To explain North Carolina’s low score, NARAL cited four pro-life laws in place in the state, including a conscience clause that recognizes a health care provider’s right to refuse to participate in an abortion, the state’s prohibition on using state funding for low-income women to procure an abortion in cases other than rape, incest, or to save the mother’s life, a parental consent requirement for minor’s to undergo an abortion, and certain requirements and regulations of abortion providers and clinics.
However, the report goes on to tout North Carolina’s requirement that insurance plans that cover prescription medications must also cover contraception, that certain low-income women receive increased Medicaid funding for family-planning services, and protections against harassing behavior outside abortion clinics, as encouraging pro-choice legislation. It also points out that North Carolina prohibits abortions after 20 weeks gestation unless the woman’s life or health are in danger.
Abortions Down in NC - January18, 2011
SC Governor Signs Pro-Life Bill - August 20, 2010
Oklahoma Lawmakers Defend Life - April 30, 2010
Nebraska Abortion Law Is Model For NC - April 20, 2010
Pro-Life Legislation Enacted Elsewhere - September 28, 2009
Court Upholds Informed Consent Statute - September 2, 2009
Court Upholds Partial-Birth Abortion Ban - June 29, 2009
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