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Bioethics in Law & Culture                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Fall  2019        vol. 2  issue  4



A summary of state legislation July 1, 2019 – September 30, 2019

Joe Kral, M.A.




Court Funding:

July 10, 2019 – Governor Mike Dunleavy cut roughly $335,000.00 from the Alaska Supreme Court budget. Earlier the Alaska Supreme Court had ruled that abortions must be publicly funded. The amount that was cut was estimated to be the cost the state would have to pay for abortions.


July 18, 2019 – The ACLU has sued the governor regarding the Alaska Supreme Court budget cuts citing that it was against the separation of powers doctrine and violated the state’s constitutional rule on gubernatorial veto powers.



18-Week Abortion Ban, OB/GYN Certification, Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act (Down Syndrome) Laws:

July 23, 2019 – US District Court Judge Kristine Baker enjoined Arkansas’ laws that mandate abortions be prohibited at 18 weeks gestation and beyond, that the abortionist is a state-certified OB/GYN and a prohibition of aborting unborn children with Down Syndrome.


August 6, 2019 – US District Court Kristine Baker extended her block on the aforementioned Arkansas laws.



Abortion Insurance Coverage:

August 22, 2019 – The State Court of Appeals basically upheld a lower court ruling upholding a law that requires all insurance plans to have abortion coverage. A Catholic mission objected since there was no religious exemption and therefore the members of the mission would subsidize other participants’ abortions. The court ruled against the mission.


Abortion Pill Dispensing-University Health Centers:

September 13, 2019 – The California Assembly passed SB 24 55-19. The bill mandates that university health centers can dispense the abortion pill, for free, for those women who are at 10 weeks gestation or less. Governor Gavin Newsom has indicated he will sign the bill.



Waiting Period:

August 1, 2019 – The Florida First District Court of Appeals sent a decision back to a lower court that ruled in 2018 that the waiting period requirement of 24 hours before an abortion is performed is unconstitutional.



Fetal Heartbeat Law:

July 22, 2018 – The ACLU has filed to block the Fetal Heartbeat Law from going into effect. The law, if allowed to go into effect, would prohibit abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected.



Parental Notification:

August 27, 2019 – The US Seventh Court of Appeals upheld an injunction against an Indiana law that requires that parents be notified that their daughter is getting an abortion even if the daughter does not need consent from the parents. Indiana currently has a parental consent law, but lawmakers saw the need to at least inform parents of the abortion even if the child receives a judicial bypass.



Admitting Privilege Law:

July 19, 2019 – The State of Louisiana has requested that the US Supreme Court review their law that requires abortionists have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. The law was upheld by the US Fifth Circuit of Appeals, but the US Supreme Court has blocked the law from going into effect as of last February until all nine justices agreed to consider the case.



Tax Break for Unborn Children:

August 28, 2019 – Lawmakers are proposing legislation that would allow people to declare an unborn child as a dependent in order to receive a tax break from state income taxes. The idea behind the initiative is to encourage pregnant women who are poor to seek health care for their children as soon as they learn about their pregnancy knowing that those costs can be deducted.



Abortionist Admitting Privileges:

August 13, 2019 – A US District Court has let the Missouri law that mandates abortionists have admitting privileges to a nearby hospital stand for the time being. The case was dismissed without prejudice.


Fetal Heartbeat Law:

July 30, 2019 – Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have filed in a US District Court challenging the constitutionality of Missouri’s Fetal Heartbeat Law. The law is supposed to go into effect August 28, 2019 and would be one of the strongest pro-life laws if allowed to go into effect. The law mandates that abortions may not be done when a fetal heartbeat is detected.


August 14, 2019 – Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has allowed pro-abortion advocates to begin collecting 100,000 signatures for a public vote prior to the law taking effect.


August 27, 2019 – Federal District Judge Howard Sachs blocked enforcement of the law pending trial.


Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act:

August 27, 2019 – Federal District Judge Howard Sachs allowed the law that prohibits abortion based on sex, race, and disability to stand.


September 27, 2019 – Federal District Judge ruled that abortions could take place on those unborn children that have Down syndrome. He still leaves the other portions of the law in place.


New Jersey

Assisted Suicide:

                 August 1, 2019 – The Assisted Suicide Law now takes effect.


August 14, 2019 – Judge Paul Innes has put the law on hold based on a challenge by an Orthodox Jewish physician who claimed that the law can compel him to violate his religious beliefs.


August 27, 2019 – A state appeals court has decided that the law may now take effect saying the physician did not have standing.


North Dakota

Abortion Pill Reversal:

September 10, 2019 – US District Court Judge Daniel Hovland issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the recently signed HB 1336. The bill mandated that abortionists must provide information to the pregnant mother who is receiving a chemical abortion that it can possibly be reversed.



Court Fees for Defending Pro-Life Law:

July 25, 2019 – The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered the state of Ohio to pay Planned Parenthood and the ACLU nearly $383,000.00 in legal fees. The decision is based on the case where Planned Parenthood sued Ohio regarding a 2004 law where the legislature passed a bill trying to mandate how doctors prescribe mifepristone. In 2016, the Federal Drug Administration changed its rules rendering both the law and case moot and it was dismissed. Both Planned Parenthood and the ACLU sued for legal fees as partial victors.


Defunding Abortion Providers:

August 19, 2019 – Governor Mike DeWine officially signed the budget bill which defunds abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. The funds will be redirected to pro-life pregnancy centers.


Fetal Heartbeat Law:

July 3, 2019 – Ohio’s fetal heartbeat law was blocked from enforcement. The preliminary injunction was issued by US District Judge Michael Barrett.


August 21, 2019 – The ACLU has filed a motion to permanently block enforcement of the law.



Abortion Pill Reversal Information Law:

September 25, 2019 – The Center for Reproductive Rights filed in an Oklahoma District Court to block enforcement of SB 614, which was signed into law earlier this year. The law requires abortionists to provide information to women receiving a chemical abortion that the process can potentially be reversed.


Dismemberment Abortion Ban:

September 17, 2019 – Oklahoma County District Court Judge Cindy Truong refused to block enforcement of the Dismemberment Abortion Ban. The decision is being appealed and will not be enforced until the appeal is heard.



Assisted Suicide:

July 24, 2019 – Governor Kate Brown signed into law SB 579 that would remove the 15 day waiting period for those patients who are seeking assisted suicide that have 15 days or less to live. Alex Schadenberg criticizes the law stating it is difficult to determine that one has 15 days or less to live thereby making the law wide open for anyone to use.



Waiting Period:

August 23, 2019 – A suit was filed to challenge the constitutionality of the state’s 48 hour waiting period law. The bill was originally passed in 2015.



Gestational Agreements:

August 1, 2019 – The Utah Supreme Court ruled that a law that prohibited same-sex couples from entering into a contract with a surrogate mother was unconstitutional.



Public Funding of Abortion:

August 21, 2019 – The Vermont Health Commissioner, Mark Levine, has stated that Vermont taxpayers will be making up for the lost Title X funding that usually goes to abortion providers.



Ultrasound Law:

September 30, 2019 – Federal US District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson upheld Virginia’s ultrasound law as well as the 24 waiting period.



Abortion Insurance Coverage:

July 11, 2019 – The Alliance Defending Freedom firm filed suit on behalf of Cedar Park Church challenging the law as unconstitutional. The law mandates that all organizations that provide maternity care coverage must also provide abortion coverage. The law has no religious exemptions.

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