Feb 22, 2010

Pro-life laws in Nebraska, Florida, Oklahoma & Hawaii on the way

LINCOLN — Nebraska could reshape national abortion policy if lawmakers embrace a proposal to ban almost all abortions after a fetus reaches 20 weeks.  The state has played a role on the national stage before, with a 1997 law banning the controversial late-term procedure known medically as intact dilation and extraction, or D&X.  The U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 overturned that Nebraska law, upholding its previous abortion decisions and dealing a setback to abortion opponents, who call the procedure “partial-birth” abortion.  Those opponents gained hope seven years later, when the justices on a more conservative Supreme Court upheld a federal ban on the D&X procedure.

An expansive measure to make most abortions illegal in Florida has been filed for the 2010 Legislative session, challenging federal protections in place for more than 40 years.  Both anti-abortion advocates and abortion rights supporters agree the 53-page proposal is an attempt to directly challenge the 40-year-old Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortions in the United States in 1973.  “The Legislature finds that there have been 50 million abortions in the United States since the Roe decision,” the bill reads. “ The Legislature further finds that every life lost to abortion was sacred and of the highest value.”
Sponsored by Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Palatka, HB 1097 would criminalize most abortions now allowed under state and federal law, increase penalties for physicians who perform such services and require pregnant women to receive more information on adoption.

Oklahoma City, OK (LifeNews.com) -- An Oklahoma state Senate committee on Thursday approved three key pro-life bills designed to reduce abortions. The measures address legal changes to two state laws that an Oklahoma judge last year tossed out as unconstitutional.  The Oklahoma state Senate Health and Human Services Committee advanced Senate Bill 1891 which would protect health care professionals' freedom of conscience by affirming their right to refuse to participate in the taking of a human life. They also supported SB 1902, regulating the use of the dangerous abortion drug RU 486, which has claimed the lives of more than 13 women worldwide and injured countless others.  And the panel backed SB 1890, which would prohibit abortions that are done for sex-selection reasons.  The three bills had been in a package of legislation the legislature approved last year, but the court determined the bill violated a constitutional requirement that legislation only address one subject even though the bills were all about stopping abortions.

The House of Representatives yesterday paved the way for Hawaii to become the first state in the nation to repeal its abortion law. The repeal bill passed by a 31-20 vote and is expected to breeze through the Senate on Tuesday. Every member voted on the measure. Barring major defects in the bill, Gov. John A. Burns is expected to let the bill become law without his signature. It will automatically become law 10 days after he receives it. The Governor has stated in the past that he supports repeal. Although the measure is laced with amendments, it still retains its basic intent—to repeal Hawaii's 101-year-old abortion  

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