2017 certainly gave rise to hope for some who were cautiously optimistic about Trump’s first year in office. However, the strides that were made in 2017 on the conservative front largely dissipated the majority of those who experienced cautious apprehensions. This is especially true for the pro life movement. This year, the Trump administration provided relief to states from being compelled to fund Planned Parenthood through Title X. The administration also provided relief to the Little Sisters of the Poor from providing abortion-inducing drugs and abortions themselves through their health care plans.
Currently, there is a also a huge increase in momentum behind passing pro life laws at the state level. According to a report published by the Guttmacher Institute in June of 2017, during the first half of 2017, “legislators in six states introduced measures to ban all abortions, and legislators in 28 states introduced measures to ban abortions under some circumstances.”
From January to June of 2017, Colorado, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas introduced bills to ban all abortions in their state.
From January to June of 2017, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia introduced bills to ban abortions after six weeks.
South Carolina introduced a bill to ban abortions after 12 weeks.
From January to June of 2017, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia introduced legislation to ban abortions 20 weeks post-fertilization. In Pennsylvania, it passed a chamber. In Iowa and Kentucky it was enacted. It was vetoed in Montana.
From January to June of 2017, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Washington introduced bills to ban abortions after 24 weeks, or viability. It passed a chamber in Tennessee and was enacted. In Montana it was vetoed.
From January to June of 2017, in Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas, introduced legislation to ban abortions in the second trimester. In Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas it passed a chamber. It was enacted in Arkansas and in Texas.
From January to June of 2017, Arkansas, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, and Missouri attempted to ban sex-selective abortions. In Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas it passed a chamber. It was enacted in Arkansas.
From January to June of 2017, in Illinois, Missouri, and Texas, legislation was introduced to ban race-selective abortions.
From January to June of 2017, in Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Ohio, legislation was introduced to ban abortion to due to fetal genetic abnormality. It passed a chamber in Oklahoma.
Eleven states (Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming) adopted 17 other pro life laws last year. The new laws will:
- Arkansas and Texas passed laws mandating that fetal tissue must be buried or cremated.
- Arizona and Arkansas passed laws requiring that the life of a baby delivered during an abortion procedure must be preserved.
- Indiana, Louisiana and West Virginia passed restrictions for a minor seeking an abortion.
- Iowa passed a law requiring that abortion counseling is provided before an abortion can take place.
- Utah requires counseling on a medically unproven method to stop a medication abortion from completion after the first of the two-dose regimen.
- Kansas now requires abortion facilities to inform a woman seeking an abortion whether the abortion provider has admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and whether or not the facility has medical malpractice insurance.
- Wyoming passed a law requiring that a woman must be offered the option to hear her baby’s heartbeat prior to obtaining an abortion.
- Iowa, Kentucky and Wyoming passed laws requiring that a woman seeking an abortion must at the least be offered an ultrasound.
- Iowa now requires that a woman have a waiting period of 72 hours between abortion counseling and the procedure. The enforcement of this law has been blocked by court.
- Texas and West Virginia have banned the use of women being given instructions over the telephone or Skype for an abortion.
There is still much work to be done within the pro life movement, but 2017 was a significant year of progress. It is up to us to determine whether or not even more rapid strides for the pro life movement will be gained in 2018.