Bioethics in Law & Culture Winter 2020 vol. 3 issue 1
A summary of state legislation October 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019
Joe Kral, M.A.
Physician Only Requirement:
December 12, 2019 – Planned Parenthood filed suit, in an Anchorage Superior Court, against an Alaskan law that requires only physicians perform abortions.
Abortion Insurance Coverage:
November 20, 2019 – The California Supreme Court refused to withdraw a lower court decision that deemed any abortion as “medically necessary”. This decision, as a result, mandated that pro-life and religious organizations that oppose abortion must still pay for health care plans that pay for abortions for any reason and must provide employees with that option.
Abortion Pill – University Health Centers:
October 11, 2019 – Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 24 into law. The law allows for the abortion pill to be dispensed at university health care centers.
Planned Parenthood Funding:
December 13, 2019 – Los Angeles County will be working with Planned Parenthood to open 50 clinics in high schools around the county. While, the clinics will not be offering abortions, they will be doing abortion referrals and counseling for abortion.
October 22, 2019 – HB 265 passed the House Health and Human Services Committee, 12-6. The bill now moves to the House Floor for consideration.
December 11, 2019 – A Florida senate committee passed, 6-3, SB 404. The bill would require minor girls to have parental consent to obtain an abortion. The bill still must have a hearing in the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee.
Funding of Abortion:
October 22, 2019 – The Thomas More Society filed suit against a law that forces Christians to fund abortions since every state insurance plan is forced to pay for elective abortions. The argument is that since the law has no religious exemptions it violates both religious and conscience protections.
December 9, 2019 – The United States Supreme Court refused to accept the challenge to Kentucky’s Ultrasound Law. This allows the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling to stand which stated that the law was constitutional.
December 19, 2019 – Oakland County has approved to give Planned Parenthood $500,000.00 of public funds in response to the Trump Administration’s “Protect Life Rule”, which prohibits the funding of organizations that do abortions or abortion related services.
Public Funds for Abortion Alternatives:
October 7, 2019 – Governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoed $700,000.00 that was earmarked for organizations that help women seek alternatives to abortion.
15 Week Gestational Abortion Ban:
December 13, 2019 – The US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Mississippi’s ban on abortions at 15 weeks gestation is unconstitutional.
Jackson Ordinance – Free Speech ‘Buffer Zones’
October 1 , 2019 – The Jackson City Council passed an ordinance that mandates that those who are peacefully counseling or praying in front of the last abortion clinic in the state must be at least 15 feet away from the clinic.
October 14, 2019 – A lawsuit was filed challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance. The Mississippi Justice Institute filed the suit in state district court.
Public Funding of Abortion:
December 5, 2019 – The Senate Budget Committee passed SB 4103, which would give $9.5 million to abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood. The bill is intended to help cover the funds that Planned Parenthood will not be receiving from federal Title X funds since the Protect Life rule went into effect. The bill now moves to the Senate Floor for consideration.
November 18, 2019 – Pro-life organizations filed a lawsuit against a New York law that bars organizations from enforcing their beliefs in the workplace with regard to “reproductive rights”. The law also requires employers to tell employees that one may receive an abortion without any fear of workplace retaliatory action from taking place. The law does not exempt religious institutions.
Abortion Pill Reversal Information Act:
November 5, 2019 – The Ohio Senate, Health, Human Services, and Medicaid Committee passed out SB 155, 8-4. The bill would provide information to those women having a chemical abortion that the process can be potentially reversed. The bill now heads to the Senate Floor for consideration.
November 6, 2019 – The Ohio Senate passed SB 155, 23-10. The bill now moves to the House for consideration.
Born Alive Infant Protection Act:
November 5, 2019 – The Ohio Senate, Health, Human Services, and Medicaid Committee passed SB 208, 9-3. The bill would mandate that any child who survives an abortion or abortion attempt must be given life saving measures that are appropriate for a child of that gestational age. The bill heads to the Senate Floor for consideration.
November 6, 2019 – The Ohio Senate passed SB 208, 24-9. The bill now moves to the House for consideration.
Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act:
October 11, 2019 – The US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to block enforcement of Ohio’s law that prohibits the intentional abortion of an unborn child with Down syndrome.
December 13, 2019 – The US Sixth Court of Appeals granted a motion for an en banc hearing of the case. It will be heard on December 20, 2019.
Abortion Pill Reversal:
October 23, 2019 – Oklahoma County District Court Judge Don Andrews blocked enforcement of a law that would require abortionists to inform women who receive chemical abortions that they could potentially reverse it.
Dismemberment Abortion Ban:
November 4, 2019 – The Oklahoma Supreme Court allowed a temporary injunction of the state’s dismemberment abortion ban. The Court ruled 6-2 in favor of the temporary injunction.
Physician Only Requirement:
November 8, 2019 – An Oklahoma abortion clinic filed suit in state district court challenging Oklahoma’s law that requires abortionists to be physicians.
Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones:
October 19, 2019 – The US Third Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Pittsburgh’s abortion clinic buffer zone, but states that the law does not apply to pro-life sidewalk counselors if the counseling is done one-on-one.
Humane Fetal Disposition Bill:
November 18, 2019 – the Pennsylvania House passed HB 1890, 123-76. This bill would require either the burial or cremation of the remains of those unborn children killed by abortion. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act (Down Syndrome):
November 20, 2019 – The Pennsylvania Senate passed HB 321, 27-22. The bill passed the House earlier this year. The bill would mandate that an unborn child diagnosed as having Down Syndrome cannot be intentionally aborted. The bill now moves to Governor Tom Wolf who has indicated he will veto the bill.
November 21, 2019 – Governor Tom Wolf vetoed HB 321.
Fetal Heartbeat Bill:
October 22, 2019 – The Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee passed HB 3020, 4-3, a fetal heartbeat bill. The bill was also stripped of the rape and incest exceptions. The bill now moves to the full committee for a hearing.
November 5, 2019 – The Senate Medical Affairs Committee passed HB 3020, 9-6. The committee added the rape and incest exceptions to the bill. HB 3020 now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
Funding of Abortion:
October 29, 2019 – The US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Governor McMasters’ executive order that stated that Planned Parenthood was not to receive payments from the states Medicaid.