Global opinion. A new Pew Research Center poll reveals that a majority of the world finds abortion morally wrong.
Pew’s 2013 Global Attitudes Survey assessed the opinions of more than 40,000 people in 40 countries on eight moral issues: extramarital affairs, gambling, homosexuality, abortion, premarital sex, alcohol consumption, divorce, and the use of contraceptives. Fifty-six percent of respondents deemed abortion unacceptable, while only 15 percent considered it acceptable, according to the median survey response. The rest said abortion was “not a moral issue.”
Of American respondents, 49 percent considered abortion morally wrong and only 17 percent considered it morally acceptable. The highest percentage of people who disapprove of abortion (93 percent) came from the Philippines, while the majority of French respondents considered abortion either acceptable (38 percent) or not a moral issue (47 percent). Generally, more Westernized countries considered abortion moral. Developing nations tended to hold more traditional values, Human Life International’s Adam Cassandra told Life Site News.
Technical changes. Kansas is backing away from abortion restrictions that have raised legal questions in state and federal lawsuits filed by abortion providers. The bill, signed by Gov. Sam Brownback on April 18, revises a requirement that the home pages of abortion providers’ websites link to a state health department site about pregnancy and fetal development. Providers no longer have to post a statement saying the state’s information is accurate and objective. The measure also revises language in Kansas laws on abortions for medical emergencies, in which abortion restrictions are waived. Pro-life groups say the minor changes to existing laws don’t set new policies.
The bill’s passage highlights a disparity in the Kansas pro-life movement’s approach to pro-life legislation. While some preferred legislation that limits abortion based on fetal heartbeat, Republican leaders shot down the amendment in fears that it would lead to court rulings that could strike down both it and restrictions already in place. Instead, the bill passed makes changes technical enough that Planned Parenthood remained neutral. “Yes, it’s frustrating, but I wouldn’t call it foolish,” said Rep. Scott Schwab, an Olathe Republican who has supported fetal heartbeat legislation. “It’s probably pretty smart.”
Bill signed. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill last week banning abortions at 20 weeks’ gestation. House Bill 1400, which becomes law July 1, allows exceptions in cases involving the mother’s possible death or permanent injury and in cases of severe fetal abnormality. The new law does not provide exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.
Although abortion advocates claim the bill is unconstitutional, supporters say it’s designed to protect women’s health. Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Washington-based Americans United for Life, said the Mississippi legislation was based largely on suggestions from her group. “We know that with each passing week of pregnancy, the health risks of abortion increase,” Yoest said in a news release. “I commend the leadership in Mississippi who worked together to achieve commonsense limits on dangerous abortion procedures.”
Inalienable rights. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled April 18 that Alabama’s chemical endangerment statute applies to all children whether born or unborn. The court upheld a lower court’s prior conviction of Sarah Janie Hicks for exposing her unborn son, referred to as J.D., to cocaine before birth. When he was born, J.D. tested positive for the drug. Although Hicks argued that the term “child” only applies to born children, the court affirmed that the protections offered in the statue apply also to the unborn. “Because an unborn child has an inalienable right to life from its earliest stages of development, it is entitled not only to a life free from the harmful effects of chemicals at all stages of development but also to life itself at all stages of development,” Justice Tom Parker wrote in his concurring opinion.