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Coming To A Statehouse Near You: Legislation Protecting Mothers & Unborn Infants

By Denise Burke

Originally published in The Daily Caller on March 13, 2017.

Pro-life advocates are apt to agree with Planned Parenthood’s recent admonition to its supporters: “The fight of our lives starts now.”  Pro-life Americans are determined to win the battle to protect women and their unborn children from the harms inherent in abortion and from the predatory and profit-driven practices of the renegade abortion industry.  And the tools needed to win this fight are increasingly found in an arsenal of life-affirming, model legislation now being considered across the country.

After the pro-abortion activism of the Obama years, the pro-life movement is emboldened by the nomination of conservative Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, by the prospect of blunting the application of the Supreme Court’s anti-woman decision invalidating health and safety mandates for abortion clinics, and by the distinct possibility that state legislatures will, to the growing panic of Planned Parenthood and its allies, continue to debate and enact cutting-edge, life-affirming legislation in record numbers.

Americans United for Life is leading the pro-life charge with our innovative Mother-Child strategy which seeks to legally protect and advance the interests of both a mother and her unborn child and to effectively refute the abortion industry’s callous and self-serving propaganda that abortion is safe and that a woman’s interests are often opposed to those of her unborn child.  This successful approach has precipitated the enactment of scores of protective abortion-related laws over the past two decades.  It is uniquely effective because it directly addresses the legal basis upon which the Supreme Court has predicated a continuing legal “right” to abortion: the insulting and misogynistic assumption that women “rely” on abortion for their positions and advancement in American society.  The Mother-Child strategy demolishes this rationale, demonstrating that any woman who “relies” on abortion does so, not only to the detriment of her unborn child, but also to the detriment of her health and well-being.

The Mother-Child Strategy features prominently in the just-released Defending Life 2017, the 12th edition of the widely recognized “pro-life playbook,” and encompassed in the 16 pieces of expertly crafted model legislation comprising AUL’s complementary Women’s Protection Project and Infants’ Protection Project which are highlighted in the volume.

Two months into the 2017 state legislative sessions, it is clear that these initiatives are already having a significant impact.  Among the most popular legislative proposals are requirements that women be informed that chemical abortions can be reversed, limits on discriminatory sex-selection abortions and dangerous late-term abortions, and requirements that abortion providers comply with medically sound standards for patient care.

Ensuring that a woman understands the risks and consequences of abortion is bedrock legal principle repeatedly affirmed by the Supreme Court.  For example, the Court has stated that and that “[i]t seems unexceptional to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained,” and that informed consent laws reduce “the risk that a woman may elect an abortion, only to discover later, with devastating psychological consequences, that her decision was not fully informed.”

These potentially catastrophic consequences would seem especially pronounced in situations where a woman regrets her decision to ingest an abortion-inducing drug and later learns that she was not told that it might have been possible to reverse the effects of this drug, allowing her to continue her pregnancy and deliver a healthy child.  Established medical science has made it possible to “reverse” a drug-induced abortion, and 175 babies have already been born following this process, with at least another 100 on the way.

Women deserve this important information, and AUL’s Abortion-Inducing Drugs Information and Reporting Act ensures that they get it.  Three states, Arizona, Arkansas, and South Dakota, currently require that women be informed that a drug-induced abortion can be reversed, and a number of other states, including Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, and Utah, are considering similar measures this year.

In June 2016, when the Supreme Court struck down Texas’s requirements that abortion clinics meet the same patient care standards as other outpatient surgical facilities and that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a local hospital to facilitate the treatment of post-abortive complications, it dubiously claimed that there was insufficient evidence to support the need for such requirements.  In December 2016, less than six months after that tragic decision, AUL released Unsafe: How the Public Health Crisis in America’s Abortion Clinics Endangers Women, a 200-page report detailing more than 1,400 health and safety violations in abortion clinics across the country and decisively demonstrating the need for better state regulation of abortion clinics and more frequent inspections to ensure compliance with health and safety mandates.

Armed with this critical information, legislators across the country are exposing the corruption of the abortion industry and introducing measures that will ensure that the abortion industry never realizes its dream of unfettered access to substandard abortion clinics, meaningless self-regulation, and ever-increasing profits at the expense of the very women it claims to champion.

A renewed and energized pro-life movement will make significant progress this year in states across the nation to protect women and their children from the dangers of abortion, and, with changes in the Supreme Court and in Congress, more advancement on the cause for life is now possible in Washington.  Little wonder then, that abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood and NARAL are lamenting the growing “existential “threats to their deadly business.

Americans United for Life Vice President of Legal Affairs Denise Burke is the editor of Defending Life and a seasoned litigator who began her legal career as a judge advocate with the United States Air Force.