Americans United for Life President and CEO Charmaine Yoest released AUL’s annual Life List, a well-respected ranking of the 50 states based on their on-going legal efforts to create and sustain a culture of life. While the “Life List” notes legislative accomplishments from the previous year, it also takes into account each state’s cumulative record in defending and protecting the lives of their citizens – from conception to natural death.
The 2013 list honors the accomplishments of the top ten most pro-life states: 1. Louisiana, 2. Oklahoma, 3. Pennsylvania, 4. Arkansas, 5. Arizona, 6. Nebraska, 7. Indiana, 8. Missouri, 9. Georgia, 10. Virginia. To view the complete list, click here.
Most improved this year was Arizona, moving from No. 14 to No. 5 as a result of becoming the first to enact Women’s Health Protection Act, prohibiting abortions at or after 20 weeks gestation based on growing medical evidence of the risks of late-term abortions on women’s health as well as the pain experienced by an unborn child.
Other states on the list:
- Georgia enacted a prohibition on abortions at or after 20-weeks gestation and revised the state’s reporting requirements for late-term abortions, requiring an abortion provider to report the medical diagnosis that necessitated the procedure. Georgia also enacted a measure that includes abortion clinics, or “reproductive healthcare facilities,” in the definition of mandatory reporters for suspected child sexual abuse.
- New Hampshire legislators overrode Governor John Lynch’s veto of a prohibition on partial-birth abortion, joining 19 other states that have also banned the dangerous and grisly practice.
- Virginia enacted an ultrasound requirement. Recognizing that the performance of an ultrasound is the “gold standard” of patient care, the measure requires the performance of an ultrasound before an abortion and that the woman be given an opportunity to view the ultrasound and have it explained to her.
- South Carolina became the eighth state to enactAbortion-Mandate Opt-Out Act, prohibiting insurance plans that cover abortions from participating in any Exchanges (required to be operational in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare”) operating within the state.
TRENDS IN LEGISLATION: In 2012, the most popular abortion-related legislative measures included prohibitions on government funding and insurance coverage for abortion, legislation and resolutions related to pregnancy care centers, informed consent for abortion, ultrasound requirements, restrictions or regulations on abortion-inducing drugs and so-call “telemed” abortions, and abortion clinic regulations and other abortion provider requirements.
Importantly, there was a nearly 40 percent increase in the number of measures introduced to protect healthcare freedom of conscience. Moreover, as a result of a substantial increase in the number of bills related to pain management and palliative care, measures related to end-of-life issues increased nearly two-fold.
For more on AUL’s “Life List” and the “Life List” All Stars as well as for information on Defending Life’s model legislation, click here.