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State-by-state progress

More than a dozen states last year made it easier to protect life

State-by-state progress

Last year 12 states gained 20 life-affirming laws, while voters in another state handed their legislature greater power to enact pro-life laws. The new laws address issues from strengthening informed consent regulations and extending waiting periods to protecting unborn victims of violence and banning sex-selection abortion.

Alabama increased abortion waiting periods from 24 to 48 hours after women receive information on issues such as adoption services and the father’s obligations. The state also strengthened parental consent requirements and tightened the process for minors petitioning to have an abortion without parental consent.

Alaskan parents can now file civil suits for the unlawful or negligent death of an unborn child. The state also redefined what constitutes a “medically necessary” abortion under Medicaid coverage, but state-funded abortions are still allowable if the pregnancies result from rape or incest, or if the health of the mother is at risk.

Arizona’s Department of Health Services can now conduct surprise inspections of abortion clinics without first obtaining a warrant. Helping a minor to circumvent parental consent laws is a misdemeanor, and abortion facilities must report live births and resuscitation efforts.

Colorado gave greater protection to women who become pregnant following rape. A victim will be able to file a petition seeking termination of the rapist’s parental rights if there is clear and convincing evidence a rape occurred—even if the rapist was not convicted.

Florida outlawed abortions if a doctor determines the preborn baby could survive outside the womb, with an exception for situations involving risk to the mother’s life. An Unborn Victims of Violence Act makes it a separate offense to injure or kill a preborn baby at any stage of development. 

Georgia barred the state employee health insurance plan from covering abortions except when the mother’s life is at stake. The law does not include an exception for rape or incest.

Indiana prohibited elective abortion coverage in standard healthcare insurance plans. Also, abortion businesses will now have to submit to the State Department of Health a document showing their abortionists’ admitting privileges at hospitals.

Kansas expanded the “safe havens” where a parent can surrender custody of an infant. Parents can have anonymity when they relinquish a child.

Louisiana now requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility. (Three Louisiana abortion facilities at risk of closing under the bill have since filed suit to block enforcement of the bill.) Abortionists cannot provide instruction at public and charter schools or distribute information on issues like sex education. Women must receive information on coerced abortions and human trafficking prior to undergoing an abortion.

The Missouri legislature twice overrode Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s vetoes of life-affirming bills. One new law extends the state’s waiting period from 24 to 72 hours, and another increases tax credit caps available to pregnancy resource centers.

Oklahoma abortionists must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility. Women in Oklahoma must receive information about prenatal hospice services if they are carrying a baby with a fetal anomaly incompatible with life.

South Dakota is now the nation’s eighth state to ban sex-selection abortion. Arizona, Illinois, Kansas, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania already have similar laws.

Tennessee voters approved Amendment 1, which says abortion rights are not protected by the state’s constitution. Lawmakers now have greater power to enact abortion regulations and restrictions.

Kristin Chapman

Kristin Chapman


  • Laura W
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 01:11 pm

    Two comments re the Oklahoma laws--the article reads "prenatal hospice services", but I think the term is actually "perinatal hospice", since the baby in these cases often dies during or shortly after birth, rather than before birth.In addition, while the term "incompatible with life" is commonly used to refer to children with disabilities that render them incapable of surviving outside the womb, this phrase is insulting and inaccurate, since the babies described are in fact already alive.