State

Briefs

Bioethics in Law & Culture                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Winter  2021      vol.  4  issue  1

 

 

A summary of state legislation October 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020

Joe Kral, M.A.

 

Arizona:

Waiting Period:

November 4, 2020 – Planned Parenthood dropped its lawsuit against Arizona’s 24 hour waiting period law. The law is meant to provide women the opportunity to look over and contemplate information regarding fetal development, abortion risks, etc.

 

 

Arkansas:

Dismemberment Ban:

December 22, 2020 – US District Court Judge Kristine Baker issued a temporary restraining order against Arkansas’ Dismemberment Abortion Ban from being in effect. The law was allowed to go into effect for a few hours due to the Eight Circuit Court’s ruling allowing it to go into effect. There are other clinic regulation laws also being challenged.

 

 

Colorado

Late-Term Abortion:

November 3, 2020 – Proposition 115, which would have banned abortions after 22 weeks gestation, was defeated 59% - 41%. Pro-abortion advocacy groups spent upwards of $9 million in defeating the measure. Much of that money came from outside the state. Pro-life organizers were only able to raise $500,000. Many believe that Proposition 115 was defeated because the opposition spent so much more money in advertising urging voters to vote ‘no’.

 

 

Indiana:

Abortion Clinic Regulations:

October 9, 2020 – US District Judge Sarah Evans Barker upheld provisions of Indiana law that required abortion clinics to be licensed, inspected, and report abortions to the state. However, a provision that will be going to trial, beginning on March 15, 2021, will be the provision that some second-term abortions and third term abortions must be performed either in a hospital or licensed ambulatory surgical center.

 

 

Informed Consent/Ultrasound Law:

October 9, 2020 - US District Judge Sarah Evans Barker upheld provisions of Indiana law that required abortion clinics to give women proper informed consent information and an ultrasound prior to the abortion. Planned Parenthood initially dropped its suit against the ultrasound law back in August, however, this is a different case. However, portions of the informed consent law will be going to trial such as the information relating to fetal pain, the beginning of life, and health risks associated with abortion. The trial is set to begin on March 15, 2021.

 

 

Kentucky:

Abortion Clinic Regulations:

October 16, 2020 – The US Sixth Court of Appeals upheld Kentucky’s requirement that abortion clinics have transfer agreements with hospitals.

 

 

Louisiana:

Abortion Funding Prohibition:

November 23, 2020 – The US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that both Louisiana and Texas can prohibit state Medicaid funds from going to the abortion industry.

 

No Right to Abortion:

November 3, 2020 – Amendment 1 (Love Life Amendment) was passed 62% to 38% by voters. The Amendment would amend the Louisiana constitution to recognize that there is no right to abortion.

 

Massachusetts:

Codifying Roe:

November 12, 2020 – The Massachusetts House passed Amendment 759, 108 – 49, onto the Budget Bill. Amendment 759 is similar to the ROE Act which would allow for abortions for any reason until birth. It would also allow for passive infanticide. The amended bill moves to the Senate for consideration.

 

November 18, 2020 – The Massachusetts Senate passed the budget bill containing the amendment similar to the ROE act. The bill now moves to Governor Charlie Baker’s desk where he has the option to line-item veto the ROE Act language.

 

December 11, 2020 – Governor Charlie Baker line-item vetoes much of the ROE Act from the Budget Bill. Provisions that expanded late-term abortions and provisions that repealed parental consent laws were line-item vetoed.

 

December 16, 2020 – The Massachusetts House has voted to reject the line-item veto of Governor Charlie Baker and keep the language of the ROE act. The measure now moves to the Senate for approval.

 

December 18, 2020 – The Massachusetts Senate has voted to reject the line-item veto of Governor Charlie Baker and keep the language of the ROE Act. The Governor can either sign the bill, veto the entire bill, or refuse to sign it and allow the bill to become law without his signature.

 

December 26, 2020 – Governor Charlie Baker has line-item vetoed the language of the ROE Act within the budget bill.

 

December 28, 2020 – The Massachusetts House has voted to override Governor Baker’s veto, 107-46.

 

December 29, 2020 – The Massachusetts Senate has voted to override Governor Baker’s veto, 32-8. The ROE Act will become law.

 

Ohio:

Humane Fetal Disposition:

December 3, 2020 – the Ohio House passed the Unborn Child Dignity Act (SB 27), 60-35. The bill, if enacted would mandate that the remains of an unborn child killed by abortion must be either buried or cremated. The bill now moves to Governor Mike DeWine for either his signature or veto.

 

December 9, 2020 – The Ohio Senate concurred with the House changes to SB 27. The bill now moves to Governor Mike DeWine’s desk for either his signature or veto.

 

December 31, 2020 – Governor Mike DeWine signed SB 27 into law.

 

Telemed Abortion Ban:

December 16, 2020 – The Ohio House Health Committee passed the Telemed Abortion Ban (SB 260). This bill would prohibit the dispensing of abortion drugs via teleconference. The bill now moves to the House Floor for consideration.

 

December 17, 2020 – The Ohio House passes SB 260, 54-30. The bill now moves to Governor Mike DeWine’s desk for either his signature or veto. 

 

South Carolina:

Public Funding of Abortion:

October 12, 2020 – The US Supreme Court rejected a case stemming from South Carolina where an executive order was signed in 2018 by Governor Henry McMaster prohibiting abortion providers from receiving money from Medicaid. The executive order was challenged by Planned Parenthood and was ruled unconstitutional by two lower courts.

 

 

Tennessee:

Eugenic Abortion Ban:

November 20, 2020 – The US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Tennessee’s prohibition on aborting unborn children with disabilities or because of race can remain in effect while other portions of the law are being challenged. The other portion of the law being challenged it the Heartbeat Law.

 

Waiting Period:

October 2020 – US District Court Judge Bernard Friedman struck down a 2015 law that mandated a 48-hour waiting period prior to an abortion. The judge ruled that the law place a substantial burden on women. The attorney general will be appealing the decision.

 

December 15, 2020 – US District Judge Bernard Friedman refused to lift the block on the enforcement of the waiting period while the waiting period law is on appeal.

 

Texas:

Abortion Funding Prohibition:

November 23, 2020 – The US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that both Louisiana and Texas can prohibit state Medicaid funds from going to the abortion industry.

 

Dismemberment Ban:

October 13, 2020 – The US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down Texas’ Dismemberment Abortion Ban which prohibits dismemberment abortion on a living unborn child. It is expected that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will ask for en banc Court decision.