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Pro-Life Gains Made in State-by-State Abortion Battle

Date: 2023-07-20
Source: Kentucky Today

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Independent sources:

  1. Guttmacher Institute:
  2. Susan B. Anthony List:

Pro-Life Advances into the Future

In the first full legislative year after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a decision that prevented abortion bans for nearly half a century, the state-by-state battle to protect preborn children and their mothers has continued. Iowa became the latest of seven states to enact prohibitions in 2023 when Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the Fetal Heartbeat Act on July 14[1]. As a result, half of the 50 states now have what Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-life America, described as “strong pro-life protections on the books” [1].

More than 10 other states, however, have acted this year to protect or expand access to abortion. Abortion rights advocates have gained victories in about a dozen states in 2023. According to the Guttmacher Institute, eleven states and the District of Columbia have approved measures of various kinds that protect access to abortion. Those states are Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Vermont, and Washington[1].

On the other hand, North Carolina’s Democratic governor vetoed legislation that would have banned nearly all abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy[2]. New York enacted a law in January that legalizes abortion until birth and, according to pro-life analysis, removes protections for babies who survive[3].

Susan B. Anthony List

Pro-life advocates have long contended that the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) – in its language guaranteeing equal rights for women – would result in the establishment of abortion rights in the U.S. Constitution and the eradication of all restrictions on abortion and its funding[4]. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said after the House vote on the ERA, “Abortion is the greatest violation of human rights in our day – the clear antithesis of equality. Its ratification would mean the indefinite blocking of state and federal policy to protect the rights of children in the womb” [4]. Pro-abortion organizations have supported the ERA with the expectation it will be construed by courts in those ways[4].

With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the focus of the battle has now moved to state legislatures[5]. Several groups look to push back on pro-life legislation, while others aim to protect and expand access to abortion[5]. The result could be an overturning of Roe v. Wade or a broadening of restrictions on abortions in the early stages of pregnancy[6].

In conclusion, the state-by-state battle over abortion rights has continued to intensify in the first full legislative year after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a decision that prevented abortion bans for nearly half a century. While half of the 50 states now have strong pro-life protections on the books, more than 10 other states have acted to protect or expand access to abortion. The ongoing battle highlights the deeply divided opinions on the issue and the importance of state-level legislation in shaping the future of abortion rights in the United States.

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