Pro-lifers have had a good year with the majority of states continuing to pursue life-affirming laws and policies, a new report shows.
In 2009, the states enacted approximately 60 pro-life measures, a marked increase from last year, according to a report released Tuesday by Americans United for Life.
"Clearly, we are making progress at the state level – law by law and state by state – to protect and defend life," commented Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of the national pro-life group. "We are encouraged by the progress that has been made in 2009 and enthusiastically look forward to working with pro-life legislators to advance pro-life legislation and policies in 2010."
Overall, the number of abortion-related measures states considered in 2009 decreased by 33 percent to around 300 since last year. But given the state legislatures' focus on the economy and President Barack Obama – who some have described as the most pro-abortion president – now in the White House, Americans United for Life say the decrease was less than expected.
At least nine states considered resolutions this year opposing the federal Freedom of Choice Act, which would abolish all federal and state restrictions and limitations on abortion. Obama said last year during a meeting with abortion provider Planned Parenthood that he would sign FOCA into law.
Attempts in five states to enact FOCA at the state level were defeated, the AUL report highlighted.
Many states have given more attention to informed consent, ultrasound requirements, enhanced parental involvement requirements, and comprehensive health and safety regulations for abortion clinics.
At least 16 states considered measured requiring informed consent for abortion or modifying existing requirements and at least 22 states considered ultrasound requirements.
Measures requiring pregnant women to be counseled on the pain an unborn child may feel during an abortion were considered in at least seven states.
Legislators in 31 states considered more than 95 measures to regulate biotechnologies and to prohibit or restrict technologies that destroy nascent life, marking an increase by nearly 20 percent – the first increase in such legislation in three years.
Also for the first time in three years, measures to protect health care providers' freedom of conscience outpaced measures to violate or compel conscience by a margin of 2 to 1. However, the number of measures related to freedom of conscience that were considered in 2009 decreased by more than 50 percent compared to 2008.
Nevertheless, the overall life-affirming trends prove to be promising and bode well for the 2010 state legislative sessions, says AUL Vice President of Legal Affairs Denise Burke.
The report comes as the national sentiment toward abortion has shifted dramatically. More Americans now consider themselves pro-life than pro-choice, according to a recent Gallup Poll.
AUL claims to be the first national pro-life organization in the country and the only non-profit law firm dedicated exclusively to nationwide efforts to reinstate respect for human life in American law and culture.