Bioethics in Law & Culture Winter 2019 vol. 2 issue 1
A summary of state legislation October 1, 2018 – December 31, 2018
Joe Kral, M.A.
Amendment 2 (No State Constitutional Right to Abortion):
November 6, 2018 – Alabama voters approved a ballot referendum that amends the Alabama
Constitution. This amendment states that there is no recognition of any right to abortion.
November 28, 2018 – The California Fourth District Court of Appeals reversed the ruling of a lower court that had decided earlier this year that the End of Life Option Act was unconstitutional because it went beyond the purview of a California Special Session.
October 26, 2018 – the US District Court ruled that California’s FACT Act was unconstitutional which would have forced pregnancy centers to advertise for abortion.
Embryo Custody Battle:
October 29, 2018 – The Colorado Supreme Court issued guidelines for a lower court regarding a custody case involving IVF human embryos. Factors to be considered in Colorado are as follows:
1) How many children have already been born,
2) Can the parent financially support the child,
3) why a party wants to continue preserving the embryos,
4) Why were the embryos frozen in the first place,
5) What burden would the other party take on if the biological children are born, and
6) Are these embryos being used in a way to cause an unfair disadvantage to the other party.
Abortion Complication Reporting:
October 23, 2018 – US District Court Judge Dan Nye ruled that the plaintiffs (Planned Parenthood) did not meet the burden that the law would cause irreparable harm if implemented.
October 4, 2018 – The US Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to the recent Iowa Supreme Court decision that ruled that gestational contracts are enforceable. As a result, the Iowa ruling will stand.
Telemed Abortion Ban:
November 8, 2018 – The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Kansas’ telemedicine abortion ban. The Center for Reproductive Rights claims the ban is both an undue burden and that it treats abortion differently than other procedures since it bans the practice of telemedicine. The law is scheduled to take effect January 1, 2019.
December 31, 2018 – US District Court Judge Franklin Theis has blocked the enforcement of the ban.
Safe Haven Boxes:
December 31, 2018 – Governor Rick Snyder vetoed legislation that would have allowed for the creation of safe haven boxes for those who wish to abandon their infants. The idea of such boxes is that they will help prevent the abandonment of infants in such unsafe places as dumpsters and restrooms.
Telemed Abortion Ban:
November 29, 2018 – The Michigan Senate passed a measure that would remove the expiration date for their prohibition on telemed abortions. The measure now goes to the Michigan House for consideration.
December 4, 2018 – A Michigan House Committee passed the measure that removes the expiration date on the prohibition of telemed abortions. The measure moves to the full House for consideration.
December 13, 2018 – The Michigan House passed the measure that would prohibit telemed abortions. The bill now moves to Governor Rick Snyder for either his signature or veto.
December 31, 2018 – Governor Rick Snyder vetoed the legislation. Now that the expiration date has expired and a bill has not passed either extending the expiration date or permanently banning telemed abortion, the practice of telemed abortions will once again be legal in Michigan.
15 Week Abortion Ban:
November 20, 2018 – US District Court Judge Carlton Reeves ruled that Mississippi’s law prohibiting abortion starting at 15 weeks gestation was unconstitutional.
December 17, 2018 – Mississippi Attorney General, Jim Hood, filed notice to appeal to the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
December 21, 2018 – Columbia Planned Parenthood filed in US District Court to have Missouri’s law that mandates abortionists have admitting privileges to nearby hospitals blocked from enforcement.
October 4, 2018 – US District Court Judge Audrey Fleissig ruled portions of St. Louis’ “abortion ordinance” invalid. The ordinance originally maintained that no employer could hire or fire employees who had an abortion, been pregnant outside of marriage, used artificial contraception, and/or used artificial insemination. The ordinance primarily targeted religious organizations, but Fleissig’s ruling said the ordinance could not be applied to religious organizations only to those organizations that are not expressly religious.
Fetal Heartbeat Bill:
December 12, 2018 – HB 258 has passed the Senate Health Committee. The bill will now move to the Senate floor for consideration. Gov. John Kasich has indicated he will veto the bill if it is passed.
December 13, 2018 – HB 258 has passed the final vote in the Ohio Senate. It was 2 votes shy of a veto proof majority. The bill now goes back to the House so they can either concur or not with Senate amendments that were added to the bill.
December 14, 2018 – The Ohio House concurred with the Senate amendments. The bill now goes to Governor Kasich for either his signature or veto.
December 21, 2018 – Gov. Kasich vetoed HB 258.
December 27, 2018 – The Ohio House votes to override Gov. Kasich’s veto. However, the Senate failed to override the veto by one vote.
Dismemberment Abortion Ban:
December 13, 2018 – The Ohio House gave final approval to SB 145. The bill now heads to Governor John Kasich’s desk for his signature. Kasich has indicated he will sign the bill.
December 21, 2018 – Governor Kasich signed SB 145 into law.
72 Hour Waiting Period:
December 12, 2018 – An Oklahoma state court upheld the 72-hour waiting period law. The law originally went into effect in 2015.
Measure 106 (No public funding of abortion):
November 6, 2018 – Ballot Measure 106 failed thereby still permitting the public funding for abortions within the state of Oregon.
Public Funding for Abortion:
October 3, 2018 – The South Carolina House voted in favor, 77-31, to uphold Governor
McMaster’s veto of a bill that would have provided public funds to Planned Parenthood.
Amendment 1 (No State Constitutional Right to Abortion):
October 1, 2018 – The US Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to Amendment 1, a 2014 ballot measure that passed and eliminated the right to abortion under the state constitution. As a result, Amendment 1 will remain in effect and Tennessee has been able to pass pro-life laws.