What's going on in the states?

Here is a briefing on what’s going on within the states regarding life issues.

Alaska: Senate Majority Leader Kevin Meyer is sponsoring legislation that would make Alaska the 27th state to offer “Choose Life” license plates. The specialty plates would be available for $30 from the state Department of Motor Vehicles and any money collected beyond what is required to produce the plates would go to a pro-life organization that promotes adoptions. In 2000 Florida became the first state to offer the plates after advocacy from Choose Life, Inc. (More information: LifeNews, Anchorage Daily News)

Arizona: 34 state legislators are sponsoring a bill (H.B. 2416) that would require giving women the chance to listen to the heartbeat of their unborn baby if the heartbeat is audible and would also require abortionists to show women seeking abortions an ultrasound of their baby. A separate measure (H.B. 2443) would require women seeking abortions to sign an affidavit affirming that they are not seeking the abortion because of the baby’s gender or race, and any doctor performing an abortion knowing race or gender is the reason would face felony charges. Rep. Kimberly Yee, the sponsor of H.B. 2416, said the bill would ensure the mother has all the information she needs before getting the abortion and believes it would reduce the number of abortions. (More information: East Valley Tribune)

Arkansas and Pennsylvana: In Arkansas, the state senate voted 27-8 to prohibit taxpayer funded abortion under Obamacare, while a bill doing the same passed a Pennsylvania Senate committee 12-2 and will advance to the full state Senate. Under Obamacare, states will be in charge of their own health care exchanges that will be available to individuals and small businesses, and Arkansas’s and Pennsylvania’s bills would ban any insurance plans in their respective state exchanges from covering abortions. Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee have already enacted similar laws and several other states are expected to consider the legislation in their upcoming sessions. Similar legislation was passed in the legislatures of Florida and Oklahoma but vetoed by their governors. (More information: LifeNews, Associated Press)

Arkansas, Florida, and Georgia: The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act has been introduced in the Florida and Georgia state legislatures and is expected to be introduced in the Arkansas legislature. The bills would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the baby’s ability to feel pain after that point. The bills mirror a law passed in Nebraska last year. (More information: Palm Beach Post, Macon.com, Tolbert Report)

California: There will be one less abortion provider in California after abortionist Andrew Rutland agreed to surrender his medical license in February after a long and atrocious career. Rutland was first licensed in 1973 and his license was revoked in 2002 after two babies born alive died in his negligence. At the time he was also charged with intimidating women into unnecessary hysterectomies, botching surgeries, lying to patients and falsifying medical records, over-prescribing painkillers, and having sex with a patient in his office. Rutland re-applied in 2007 and was granted a new license. In August 2009 he tried to perform an abortion on a woman having a reaction to anesthesia in a dirty acupuncture clinic without emergency equipment or trained staff.  The state medical board found that Rutland did not adequately secure the woman’s consent for the abortion and didn’t call 911 when he should have. The woman died and her death was classified as a homicide. Operation Rescue president Troy Newman called the surrender of Rutland’s license “a victory for women and babies who will never have to be subjected to his shoddy, back-alley practices.” (More information: LifeSiteNews, San Francisco Chronicle)

Delaware: The saga of Pennsylvania abortionist Kermit Gosnell continues as the attorney general of Delaware announced an investigation of Gosnell’s second clinic which was located in Delaware. Gosnell is currently charged with eight counts of murder for killing seven babies born alive and one woman receiving an abortion. Gosnell’s employees have testified that he killed hundreds of babies born alive by severing their spinal cords with scissors and often made jokes about it. (More information: Washington Post, LifeNews)

Kansas: With a new pro-life governor, Gov. Sam Brownback, and a state House dominated by pro-lifers, abortion law is about to change in Kansas under a new bill. 64 House members are supporting the Abortion Reporting Accuracy & Parental Rights Act which would require parental consent, as opposed to just parental notice, before an abortion is performed on a minor; require the woman to be informed that her  “abortion will terminate a separate, whole, unique, living human being”; and change medical regulations to ensure accurate reporting of abortions. (More information: LifeNews, McPherson Sentinel)

Montana: A bill has been introduced in the state House that would require doctors to perform an ultrasound prior to the abortion. (More information: Associated Press)

Oregon: The number of people killing themselves under Oregon’s legalization of assisted suicide continues to increase. The Oregon Public Health Division released statistics showing 65 patients died after ingesting the prescribed poisonous cocktail of lethal drugs in 2010. The median age of the patients was 72 years old, and most were white, well-educated, and had cancer. Just one of 65 patients was referred for psychiatric or psychological evaluation prior to the suicide. Two of the patients who ingested the poison in 2010 awoke and died a few days later of their underlying illness. Oregon was the first state in the country and is one of three states to legalize assisted suicide. Since Oregon legalized it in 1994, 525 patients have died from assisted suicide. (More information: Oregon Public Health Division report, LifeNews.com)

Washington: The website “Abortion in Washington” reports that Washington state is paying for secret abortions with tax dollars. Washington pays for abortions under Medicaid, which includes transportation to and from abortion clinics. The site found that the state Department of Health and Human Services has no regulations in place that allow them to track the number of trips to abortion clinics being financed with tax dollars, and the state may be in violation of the federal Hyde Amendment which bars federal tax dollars in Medicaid from being used to pay for abortions. (More information: Abortion in Washington)

Wyoming: The Wyoming state House has defeated a bill that would allow the 90 women who get abortions in the state each year to see the ultrasound of their baby before the abortion is performed. The bill was sponsored by pro-life advocate Rep. Bob Brechtel and passed the House Labor, Health, and Social Services Committee by a 7-2 vote on January 21st. It was defeated 32-23 by the full House. The 60-seat House is controlled by a majority of 41 Republicans, but as LifeNews notes, “The rejection is another sign the fiscally conservative Republicans in the state legislature are no pro-life advocates.” (More information: LifeNews, Casper Star-Tribune)

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