Vitals Reporting on the pro-life movement

Indiana approves abortion center oversight

Abortion | Law mandates annual inspections and requires reports on abortion complications
by Samantha Gobba
Posted 4/02/18, 03:43 pm

Indiana now numbers among the majority of states that require annual inspections of abortion centers and classify the murder of an unborn baby as homicide.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the two pieces of pro-life legislation last week, drawing approval from pro-life advocates and ire from abortion supporters. The first bill expands the state’s safe haven law, establishes annual inspections for abortion centers—something already required in 27 other states—and mandates all medical doctors report treatment they give women for complications due to abortion, including infections and anxiety.

Rep. Sue Errington, a Democrat, criticized the bill: “It seems to me that this is an attempt to make this appear like a dangerous procedure, and it’s not.”

But pro-life advocates point to abortion centers’ frequent violations of health and safety standards as proof they need oversight.

Americans United for Life said in a statement it is “thrilled” Holcomb signed the bill into law. The group’s model legislation, the Abortion Reporting Act, influenced Indiana’s bill, which ensures “complete and reliable data on the risks of abortion is available to women, the medical community, and the general public,” the group wrote.

Indiana Right to Life president Mike Fichter also applauded the governor’s signature: “This important pro-life law ensures abortion complications don’t get swept under the rug. Hoosier women deserve better.”

The second bill Holcomb signed last week establishes a fetal homicide law: Anyone who kills an unborn baby can face murder charges, regardless of the baby’s gestational age. The previous law only protected babies who had reached the point of viability.

Although considered a pro-life measure, the law does not apply to abortion.

In addition to Indiana, 37 other states have fetal homicide laws. Three of those only factor the baby’s death into the charges of bodily injury to the mother. That includes Colorado, where in 2016 a jury convicted a woman of attempted murder after she attacked a pregnant woman and cut out her unborn baby in hopes of passing it off as her own. The baby did not survive. Twelve states and the District of Columbia have no laws regarding fetal homicide.

Facebook Facebook Supporters of Alfie Evans and his family at a rally in London

Alfie Evans loses fight for life at European court

Alfie Evans’ parents lost their appeal to the European Court of Human Rights last week, putting their 22-month-old son one step closer to death. The court ruled in favor of Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, England, which wants to remove the toddler’s life support.

Alfie has a degenerative neurological condition and remains in a coma and dependent on a ventilator. His parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, have been fighting a court battle to keep him on life support. They insist he isn’t dying and note he “looks into our eyes every day.”

Evans said the ruling left him and James “in bits, distraught, in pain” and “failed disgracefully by the system.” On Saturday, hundreds of people marched through the streets of Liverpool holding signs and chanting their support for Alfie.

The court’s rejection of the couple’s plea comes as a final blow in a series of defeats, including the U.K. Supreme Court’s rejection of their appeal last month. The hospital said in a statement it is working with the parents to implement “the most appropriate palliative care plan” for Alfie. —S.G.

Creative Commons/Elvert Barnes Creative Commons/Elvert Barnes Pro-life advocates at the March for Life in Washington, D.C.

State-level pro-life progress and regress

  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill last week that will force health insurance companies to cover abortion if they already cover prenatal care. The law also designates funding for free abortions for women on Medicaid or those with no health insurance.
  • The Louisiana legislature is considering a bill that would protect the lives of the unborn after 15 weeks gestation. Abortionists caught violating the law could face up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Gov. John Bel Edwards said last week he would probably sign the bill if it passed. The bill mirrors a recent Mississippi law signed by Gov. Phil Bryant but halted by a federal judge after that state’s only abortion center filed suit.
  • Hawaii voted to legalize assisted suicide last week, becoming the sixth state in the nation to do so. But Connecticut thwarted yet another attempt to legalize the practice, letting a bill die in committee as the legislative session comes to a close.
  • Nebraska’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood has led to heated budget debates. Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts requested a budget provision requiring Title X funding recipients to prove they don’t perform or refer for abortions, but the measure fell three votes short of the 33 needed to approve it. The legislation could now come up in a special session.
  • Kentucky passed a bill to end dismemberment abortions, sending the measure to Gov. Matt Bevin’s desk. In a statement last week, Bevin hinted he would sign it: “With every pro-life bill that becomes law, we send the same message: Kentucky stands for life.”
  • Missouri legislators may increase their state’s protection for the unborn another two weeks, with a 20-week abortion bill passed by the House last week. —S.G.

Loss at fertility clinic larger than originally thought

More couples than originally thought are mourning the loss of eggs and embryos compromised last month at an Ohio fertility clinic when temperatures in a storage tank rose too high. Officials now say more than 4,000 eggs and embryos from 950 patients are no longer viable. Previous estimates placed the loss at 2,000 eggs and embryos.

Dozens of families have sued University Hospitals, and lawyers are trying to decide whether to file a class action lawsuit or advocate individual cases.

The clinic tried to regain patients’ trust by launching an internal investigation, purchasing new storage tanks, and installing a new alarm, but that offers little consolation for patients who lost offspring.

“How are you going to refund our five chances at children,” patient Jeremy Plants said. “We can’t get that back.” —S.G.

Boy Scout with Down syndrome sues to regain badges

The father of 15-year-old Logan Blythe filed suit against the Boy Scouts of America last month after the group allegedly rescinded its approval of his son’s Eagle Scout project. The Utah boy has Down syndrome, and his project involved creating kits for babies with special needs. The group also revoked the teen’s merit badges, something it later denied. Chad Blythe said the group’s move left his son “distraught.” —S.G.

Argentina marches for life

With a referendum in the works to legalize abortion in Argentina, the country saw an outpouring of pro-life protests last month during its annual Great Rally for Life. Hundreds of thousands marched in more than 200 cities on the National Day of the Unborn Child. —S.G.

Samantha Gobba

Samantha reports on the pro-life movement for WORLD Digital.

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