CBS News today reported on pro-life legislative efforts at the state level.
From the piece:
The anti-abortion rights movement last year found itself in a set of circumstances that have all worked to advance their agenda. Most importantly, states across the country elected new, emboldened conservative politicians. Hundreds of anti-abortion rights legislators and a net of 12 new anti-abortion rights governors were elected, according to Americans United for Life.
Meanwhile, a set of news-making events in the past year — such as the passage of health care reform and video of the conservative “sting” on Planned Parenthood — galvanized conservative activists. National leaders are more vocal than ever on the issue. And a possibly sympathetic swing vote now sits in the Supreme Court.
“It’s been kind of a perfect storm of sorts,” said Dan McConchie, vice president of government affairs at Americans United for Life.
State bills are currently pending all over the country, and many states are considering multiple abortion-related bills. (Americans United for Life has a map on its website showing how widespread the anti-abortion efforts are.)
In Florida last week, a bill advanced that would bar private health insurers from covering abortion in plans paid for in whole or in part with any government funds. It’s just one of at least 18 abortion bills pending in the Florida legislature, according to Americans United for Life.
In April 2010, Nebraska passed a law barring abortions after 20 weeks on the premise that the fetus could feel pain at that point. Opponents of the law dispute the science that allegedly proves that point — but whether the science is valid or not, the law clearly disregards the viability test (by focusing instead on pain). The law went into effect in October but has yet to face any legal challenge.
“Frankly, I don’t think they want to have a public debate about the fact the child can feel pain,” McConchie of Americans United for Life said, speculating as to why pro-abortion rights advocates have not challenged the law. “That is a PR battle they don’t want to have… We can’t force the other side to take the bait if we put it out there.”
The Wall Street Journal‘s Law Blog also discussed this topic.