Anti-abortion legislation on the move in Red states aiming for High Court ruling

by WorldTribune Staff, May 16, 2019

A wave of fetal heartbeat bills which place restrictions on abortion, including the one signed by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on May 15, open the door for pro-life groups hoping the Supreme Court will revisit Roe v. Wade.

“It is clearer than ever that Roe is far from being settled law in the eyes and hearts of the American people, and this is increasingly reflected in state legislatures. The American people want a fresh debate and a new direction, achieved by consensus and built on love for both mothers and babies,” said Susan B. Antony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser in a statement.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signs into law the Human Life Protection Act. / Alabama Office of the Governor photo

“The time is coming for the Supreme Court to let that debate go forward,” she added.

Ivey on May 15 signed into law the Human Life Protection Act, which makes most abortions in Alabama at any point during pregnancy illegal, except those necessary in order to prevent “a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.”

“To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious & that every life is a sacred gift from God,” Ivey said.

Ivey acknowledged that the law, given Roe v. Wade, is likely unenforceable but that it may be a springboard for the Supreme Court to revisit the 1973 decision which legalized abortion.

“To all Alabamians, I assure you that we will continue to follow the rule of law,” the governor continued, observing the new legislation is similar to the law in Alabama prior to 1973:

“In all meaningful respects, this bill closely resembles an abortion ban that has been a part of Alabama law for well over 100 years. As today’s bill itself recognizes, that longstanding abortion law has been rendered ‘unenforceable as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.’

“No matter one’s personal view on abortion, we can all recognize that, at least for the short term, this bill may similarly be unenforceable. As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court even when we disagree with their decisions. Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur.”

Catherine Glenn Foster, the president and CEO of Americans United for Life, said Alabama has “created the opportunity to implement new, comprehensive policies to ensure the most life-affirming outcomes for both the mother and the child throughout life.”

Pro-life groups may also be heartened by a May 13 Supreme Court decision. Roll Call noted that the high court overturned, 5-4, “an unrelated 40-year-old precedent over the ability of individuals to sue a state in another state court, which could hint that the high court is more open to reviewing rulings decided decades ago like Roe.”

Fetal heartbeat bills have been passed and signed into law this year in Georgia, Mississippi and Ohio, and introduced in state legislatures this year in Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, Texas and West Virginia.

A fetal heartbeat bill has passed both houses of Missouri’s legislature and is awaiting the governor’s signature. A heartbeat bill passed Louisiana’s upper house and a vote is pending in the lower house. South Carolina’s lower house passed a heartbeat bill but its upper house has yet to address it. Tennessee’s lower house also passed a heartbeat bill but its upper house has postponed a vote.

States which have passed fetal heartbeat bills which have been either struck down or are being challenged in court include Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky and North Dakota.

A challenge seeking to prevent Mississippi’s fetal heartbeat law from taking effect on July 1 is scheduled to go before a judge on May 21.

Similar legal action is expected before laws can take effect in Ohio and Georgia, where Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed the latest heartbeat bill into law on May 7. Kemp said he welcomed the fight, vowing: “We will not back down.”

“For pro-life folks, these are huge victories,” said Sue Liebel, state director for the Susan B. Anthony List. “And I think they’re indicative of the momentum and excitement and the hope that’s happening with changes in the Supreme Court and having such a pro-life president.”

Hollywood leftist elites railed against the fetal heartbeat legislation.

“These statehouses are waging all-out war on women and their right to control their reproductive decisions,” singer John Legend said. “This is awful.”

“This is absolutely unbelievable. If you’re not worried about roe v wade, you’re not paying attention. This is why voting matters!!” said actor Chris Evans.

Hollywood personality and leftist activist Alyssa Milano tweeted: “There have been nearly 30 bans on abortion introduced, passed, or signed into law in statehouses around the country this year alone. This is Trump’s anti-choice agenda and part of the GOP’s war on women.”

The View’s Joy Behar highlighted the race of Alabama state senators who voted for the fetal heartbeat bill.

“Can we look at a picture of the panel of men who did this? There it is. Gee, what do they have in common? They’re all men, all white guys,” Behar said, adding, “Maybe we should make it a law that they should all be required to get a vasectomy, that group in particular.”

Reese Witherspoon tweeted: “I’m beyond upset about the passing of new abortion bans in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, and Ohio. This is Unconstitutional and Abhorrent. We can not tolerate this attack on women’s fundamental rights.”

Human Life International noted that “Abortion is not a constitutional right according to the strict text of the Constitution, but it has been justified as a constitutional right under the Fourth Amendment’s protection of privacy. In short, the constitutional right to abortion is found not in the Constitution itself, but in a loose reading of it.

“This constitutional argument is often used by pro-abortionists. As former U.S. President Barack Obama once asserted, ‘I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right.’ Obama, once a law professor, should have known that this right doesn’t actually exist ― the Supreme Court literally conjured it out of thin air.”

Even Middle East news outlet Al Jazeera weighed in on the Alabama law, posting a Facebook video portraying the legislation as “dangerous.”

Al Jazeera’s home country of Qatar imprisons women for unauthorized abortions.

Qatari law mandates that women who procure abortions “without medical necessity” be sentenced to up to three years of prison time, according to the Al Meezan Qatar Legal Portal. Men or doctors who procure abortions for Qatari women can be sentenced to 10 years of prison time.

Qatar is one out of 33 developing countries that ban abortion except in cases where abortions would preserve the health of the mother, according to a 2017 report from the Guttmacher Institute.

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