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NRL News
Page 6
Fall 2011
Volume 38
Issue 8

2011 State Legislation:
Keep the Baby in the Debate, Minimize the Number of Deaths

By Dave Andrusko

When I recently asked National Right to Life’s Director of State Legislation what her “mega-goals” had been for 2011, Mary Spaulding Balch, JD, replied, “Keep the baby alive in the debate” and “minimize the number of abortions.”

Wouldn’t you say, I asked, that short of overturning Roe v. Wade, those would be the major objectives for any year? “But it’s how you forward those goals—whether in addition to making a difference in the short term, you establish the foundation for future advances—that’s crucial,” Balch responded.

And that is the genius of the latest phase in National Right to Life’s carefully thought out, carefully enacted strategy to save additional lives in the short term and make the United States Supreme Court more likely to take serious its stated respect for the state’s “compelling interest” in unborn life.

Balch pointed to passage in four states of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Kansas, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Idaho joined Nebraska in passing a law which protects from abortion any child capable of feeling pain.

“Pain-capable laws, along with laws such as ultrasound laws that places the burden where it rightly belongs (on the abortionist), are a huge step forward in awakening the public and bringing the American people into the debate,” Balch said. “You have to be a pretty cold fish not to be moved by the specter of a pain-capable unborn child enduring the unspeakable agony of an abortion.”

Two states—Texas and North Carolina—enacted laws that require the abortionist to display the ultrasound to the mother prior to the abortion. I asked Balch why that is important.

“The mother is already under enormous stress,” she said. “She should not have to request the kind of information that is vital to making a life and death decision.”

Balch reminded me that outside the abortion context, informed consent does not mean that the patient is required to ask for relevant information. That burden is on the physician to inform them—“and rightly so.” Similarly for the abortionist whose “patient” is typically under enormous pressure. (Three other states passed laws that provide the mother with an “opportunity” to view the ultrasound.)

How about minimizing the number of abortions? “That often is a reflection of funding,” Balch said, thus the enormous danger of ObamaCare.

She explained that ObamaCare requires the states to operate and maintain “health insurance exchanges” by 2014. However, ObamaCare specifically allows states to affirmatively prohibit coverage of abortions under the qualified health plans offered through the exchanges.

“Eight states took advantage of that ‘opt-out,’” Balch said. “That was a huge victory which we hope to duplicate in the next legislative cycle.”

There are other tools to reduce the number of abortions. Several states passed laws that required the abortionist to inform the mother it is against the law for anyone to try to coerce her into having an abortion.

Louisiana passed its Signs of Hope Act,which among other provisos requires a “Forced Abortion PreventionSign” to be conspicuously posted in abortion clinics informing women that they can’t be forced to abort against their will; that the father is liable for support; that adoptive parents may pay costs of prenatal care and childbirth; and that there are many public and private resources to help during and after pregnancy as listed on a Department of Health and Hospitals website featured on the sign posted in the clinic.

“And it’s important to remember that New Hampshire passed a parental notification law,” Balch said. “Pro-lifers fought that battle for years, and in this last go-round it required overcoming the veto of pro-abortion Governor John Lynch.”

When Iasked Mary for any final thoughts, she added, “Don’t forget to mention that five states (Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Tennessee) passed laws that require the abortionist to be in the room with the mother.” That is very important, given Planned Parenthood’s move to vastly increase the number of abortion by “counseling” women via webcam and having them ingest abortifacients in locations that can be hundreds of miles away from the abortionist.

“These webcam abortions are very dangerous to mothers,” Balch said, “which, of course, apparently makes no difference to Planned Parenthood.”