Iowa passed a bill to protect the unborn after a detectable heartbeat at about the sixth week of pregnancy. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) immediately filed suit, and a judge temporarily blocked the law. Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed a similar bill last week, repeating his shuttering of a heartbeat law in 2016. Next year, legislators in South Carolina and Kentucky are likely to consider heartbeat bills.
Both Mississippi and Louisiana passed laws to protect the unborn after 15 weeks of gestation. Abortion advocates filed suit against the Mississippi law, and a judge temporarily restrained it. The state appealed in December. Louisiana’s law will not be able to go into effect unless Mississippi wins its case.
Kentucky passed a law protecting the unborn from death by dismemberment after 11 weeks of gestation, with an exception for medical emergencies. The ACLU sued to stop that law, too, and a federal judge delayed its implementation in June. The Florida House passed a similar law in March, but it died later that month in the Senate. Though he vetoed the heartbeat bill, Kasich on Friday signed a bill to safeguard unborn babies in Ohio from death by dismemberment.
A federal appeals court ruled in April against an Indiana law that not only protected the unborn from abortion due to race, sex, or a diagnosis of a disability, but also required the burial of fetal remains. In September, a federal judge issued an injunction against a Texas law requiring the burial or cremation of aborted babies. The state appealed in November. —S.G.
In a May referendum, Irish voters chose to remove the Eighth Amendment from their constitution, opening the door to legal abortion through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The unborn previously had protection unless the mother’s life was in danger. In December, legislators overwhelmingly approved and sent a bill to President Michael Higgins’ desk that mandates even pro-life doctors and nurses refer patients for abortions.
The Australian state of Queensland removed protections in October for the unborn through 22 weeks of pregnancy and allowed abortion through birth with the approval of two doctors. Pro-life advocates considered it an “abortion-to-birth bill.”
Argentina nearly stopped legal protections for the unborn, but the largely Catholic nation’s Senate voted in favor of life. Pro-life advocates celebrated, and abortion supporters rioted in the streets. —S.G.