In 2016, 43 states considered over 360 measures related to abortion,
fighting for the most vulnerable, encouraging in an election year and when all not in session.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (08-15-16) – Americans United for Life released the 2016 State Sessions report today, which examines victories and set backs in the last legislative session on the LIFE issue. Legislative responses to Planned Parenthood’s reported trafficking in dismembered infant body parts were front and center in state legislatures.

Overall, in 2016, 43 states considered over 360 measures related to abortion, a significant number of abortion-related measures given the fact that this is an election year and that some states (including Texas) were not in regular session. State officials considered a number of efforts to protect taxpayers from funding Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the nation, as well as to address the callous treatment of human beings whose lives ended in abortion.

“Across the country, state legislators showed up for work, acting on their heartfelt concerns for mothers and their unborn children, and in response to the cold, hard facts that abortion harms women,” said AUL Acting President and Senior Counsel Clarke Forsythe. “Legislators also responded to videos depicting top Planned Parenthood officials discussing money for infant body parts, harvested after abortions. To assist their efforts, AUL developed an innovative model to address how the abortion industry uses human beings who die in abortion as either trash or gruesome ‘treasure,’ to be sold for profit. And AUL continued to assist states considering health and safety standards to protect women in abortion clinics.”

The majority of the pro-life bills considered in the 2016 sessions were written on topics that AUL champions in Defending Life, the playbook of pro-life legislation.  New this year, AUL’s Unborn Infants’ Dignity Act directly addressed the inhumane trafficking in infant body parts portrayed in the Center for Medical Progress videos released in 2015, now under further investigation by the House Select Panel on Infant Lives chaired by U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

The innovative AUL model requires that infants who die before birth, no matter how, be treated humanely, and not as trash, or sold or tossed in a landfill.  Alabama and Idaho passed laws based on this innovative bill in 2016, and, AUL is receiving requests from across the country from others interested in humane treatment for infants who perish before birth.

Another AUL model that drew national attention was a measure against pre-natal discrimination, on which several state bills were based, including one that was enacted in Indiana. “A humane society values people for their intrinsic dignity, rather than discriminating against them based on prejudices about their abilities,” said Forsythe.


Overall, significant abortion-related measures in 2016 included:

  1. Ensuring tax dollars do not pay for abortion or abortion providers.
  2. Limiting abortion at five months of pregnancy (20 weeks).
  3. Prohibiting abortions based on sex, race or genetic abnormality.
  4. Prohibiting dismemberment abortions.
  5. Enacting ultrasound requirements.
  6. Supporting abortion alternatives.

“Legislators concerned with the abortion industry’s growing track record of careless, harmful and even abusive behavior toward women and their unborn children worked to sever the industry’s ties to taxpayer resources,” said AUL staff attorney Anna Paprocki, on the legal team that prepared the report. “In fact, at least 27 states considered measures related to federal and state funding of abortion or abortion providers. We saw the continuation of state measures that mirror the enduring legacy of the federal Hyde Amendment, preventing tax dollars from paying for abortion. Legislators also responded to the abuses by the abortion mega-provider, Planned Parenthood, which takes more than $500 million in taxpayer dollars each year. There was a surge in measures considered and enacted that would ensure the integrity of states’ Medicaid and other healthcare programs against the predatory abortion industry.”

Another interesting trend was an increasing recognition of the humanity of the unborn, seen through the window of the ultrasound.  At least 34 states considered over 90 measures providing legal recognition of and protection for unborn and newly born children and deceased unborn infants in contexts other than abortion.

“While 2016 abortion-related measures were overwhelmingly life-affirming there was a noticeable continued increase in measures seeking to undermine existing state law and policies regulating or limiting abortion,” noted Paprocki. “Abortion advocates worked to roll back the laws protecting women from abortion industry abuses, opting to work for a world in which abortion is less safe, more frequent, and taxpayer funded.

States considered at least 40 measures undermining existing life-affirming laws or supporting the so-called ‘right’ to abortion.”