A U.S. District Court ruled last week that defendants in the Mountain Right to Life v. Becerra case have to pay the legal fees for pro-life attorneys. The U.S. Supreme Court handed pro-lifers in California a victory last year in NIFLA v. Becerra, saying that the state cannot force pro-life pregnancy care centers to promote abortion. Mountain Right to Life v. Becerra was one of multiple parallel cases filed by pro-life advocates affected by the California law. Last week’s order from a federal court will award $399,000 in legal fees to the pro-life legal group Liberty Counsel, which defended three pro-life pregnancy centers. —S.G.
Illinois: In anticipation of a potential decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, four Democratic pro-abortion state lawmakers plan to introduce the Reproductive Health Act, modeled after New York’s new law that allows abortion at any point before a child’s birth. The bill would repeal a state law protecting babies from partial-birth abortion. It would also make private insurers pay for abortions and repeal an unenforced law that allows a husband to take legal steps to protect his unborn child. A second bill in Illinois would get rid of the state’s parental consent requirement for minors seeking an abortion.
Tennessee: Bills introduced in the state House and Senate this month would protect the unborn from abortion throughout pregnancy in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and left the issue up to the states. Rep. Susan Lynn, one of two sponsors for the bills, said the act “would restore constitutional protections for our unborn and for the women of Tennessee.”
Pennsylvania: A bill to safeguard children with a Down syndrome diagnosis from abortion is coming back to Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives. “Most of us know a family touched by a Down syndrome child and know that these children lead joyful and fulfilling lives,” Rep. Matt Dowling, a co-sponsor of the measure, wrote on his Facebook page. The bill died in the state Senate last year.
New Jersey: An assisted suicide measure made its way out of a legislative committee this month. Under the bill, patients given fewer than six months to live could self-administer doctor-prescribed drugs that would end their lives. It would be the eighth state, along with the District of Columbia, to legalize assisted suicide.
Protections for beating hearts: Legislators introduced or advanced bills last week in Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, and Texas to protect the unborn from abortion after they develop a detectable heartbeat. Tennessee also has a heartbeat bill before its legislature. The bills come despite a court striking down Iowa’s heartbeat law last month and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, vetoing a similar bill in his state in December. Kasich’s successor, Mike DeWine, also a Republican, has said he would sign the latest bill, and Tennessee GOP Gov. Bill Lee said he would support a heartbeat bill, as well. —S.G.