Daily Dispatches
Pro-life supporter march in Atlanta.
Associated Press/Photo by Jason Getz/Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Pro-life supporter march in Atlanta.

Vital Signs: Fissures in the pro-life front


Disaffiliated. Board members of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) voted March 29 to change its Georgia affiliate after the Georgia Right to Life (GRTL) refused to support abortion laws that made exceptions for rape and incest.

The national group will now partner with Georgia Life Alliance (GLA) after GRTL encouraged members of the House of Representatives to vote against last year’s Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, because it included the exceptions.  NRLC considered the law a “top priority.”

GRTL President Dan Becker described the ouster as “a tragedy”but said his group would stick by its 14-year-old policy of consistently opposing laws with exceptions for rape and incest. David O’Steen, executive director of NRLC, said his group and Becker’s share a long-term goal of eliminating abortion. But short-term, he said, the national group is willing to support legislation that reduces the number of abortions, even if they have exceptions.

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Second suit filed. Planned Parenthood of Arizona (PPAZ) filed a second suit April 7 against Arizona’s regulations for the abortion drug RU-486. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals already granted PPAZ a preliminary injunction against the law, which requires using the Food and Drug Administration’s protocol for administering the drug. The latest suit argues that the law is unconstitutional because it grants legislative authority to the FDA to change the regulations in the future without state approval.

Bill abandoned. Colorado Democrats abandoned a proposal April 16 that would have banned any state regulation of reproductive decisions, including abortion and contraception. At least 500 people protested the measure at the Capitol on April 15. Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila, who led the protest, argued the bill was so vague it could have been interpreted to ban any health regulations at women’s clinics. The measure’s sponsor, Sen. Andy Kerr, said Democrats shelved the measure to avoid gridlock by minority Republicans. Senate Republican Leader Bill Cadman called the claim “ridiculous”: “What they ran into was a firestorm of public dissent.”

State action. Florida’s House passed a bill April 11 that establishes viability as the deciding factor in late-term abortions. Florida currently prohibits abortions after the 24th week of pregnancy, but the new bill would criminalize any abortion after viability. Exceptions to the new law can only be granted if two physicians determine an abortion will prevent the mother’s death or “avert a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”The Senate will now vote on the measure.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s legislature passed a bill April 15 that requires abortionists to administer abortion-inducing drugs in accordance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration protocol.

The bill now heads to Gov. Mary Fallin, who previously signed a similar measure in 2011. The Oklahoma Supreme Court declared the earlier bill unconstitutional because legislators failed to clearly state its intent. In response, this bill states that it intends to protect women from dangerous, off-label uses of the drug, not completely ban the drug or prevent its use in ectopic pregnancies.

The Louisiana House passed a bill April 16 that prohibits elective abortion providers from providing instruction at state-funded elementary, secondary, and charter schools. The bill prohibits any pro-abortion individual or organization from delivering materials about human sexuality or family planning. It also prohibits the affiliates from providing instruction or programs on any health topic.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Courtney Crandell
Courtney Crandell

Courtney is a Virginia journalist. Follow her on Twitter @CourtneyLeeC.


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