Survey Finds Pro-Life ‘Momentum’ in U.S. State Laws

Louisiana ranks as the most pro-life state, in Americans United for Life’s annual survey of legal protections for women and their unborn children.

Sign held at Denver March for Life on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol on Jan. 20, 2013.
Sign held at Denver March for Life on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol on Jan. 20, 2013. (photo: Peter Zelasko/CNA)

WASHINGTON — Organizers of a recent report monitoring pro-life laws in states throughout the country said that the data shows a trend towards the legal protection of women and their unborn children.

“Real pro-life momentum is reshaping the country, as legislators craft protections for both mother and child, the victims of an avaricious abortion industry,” said Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United For Life, Jan. 14.

“Commonsense pro-life legislation saves lives and has broad public support in light of what we’re learning about the health risks of abortion for women.”

Americans United for Life, which works to develop and promote model pro-life legislation for states, recently released its 2014 “Life List,” which ranks various states by the degree to which their laws protect women and unborn children from abortion.

Yoest said the report tracks progress toward “achieving a nation in which everyone is welcomed in life and protected in law.”

Louisiana ranked as the most pro-life state, continuing its five-year stretch of leading the annual list. Americans United for Life described the state as having a “decades-long history” of “commonsense limitations on abortion.” The state has comprehensive freedom-of-conscience protections in health care and is among the few states with “meaningful regulations” on destructive embryonic research.

The 2014 list also includes Oklahoma, Arkansas, Arizona and Pennsylvania in its top five. The least pro-life state is Washington, followed by California, Vermont, New York and Connecticut.


Most Improved States

The most improved states include Texas, Illinois, North Carolina and Kansas. The report cited Texas’ special session in July 2013 that prohibited late-term abortions and “telemed” abortions, while also mandating higher patient-care standards at abortion facilities.

Legal action in Illinois during the past year invalidated a 2005 executive order requiring pharmacists and pharmacies to dispense “emergency contraception,” which can cause early abortions if conception has already occurred. The state’s parental-notice requirement for abortion also took effect in the past year, after decades of legal disputes.

North Carolina has barred sex-selective abortions and has applied higher standards to abortion facilities. It has limited abortion funding through health-insurance exchanges and has enacted rules about the provision of abortion-inducing drugs.

Kansas has placed new limits on late-term abortions, while limiting state funding for abortions. The state has barred sex-selection abortions and enhanced its informed-consent requirements.

Americans United for Life also listed the “all-stars” of its Women Protection Project. The states of Texas, Missouri, Alabama, Arizona and Arkansas have done “the best in enacting protections for both mothers and unborn children, the victims of abortion-industry horrors,” the organization said.

Among the legislative efforts implemented by these states are measures aimed at protecting women’s right to information and consent, increasing patient health standards at abortion businesses and requiring all cases of suspected statutory rape or sexual abuse to be reported.

Pointing to documented abuses occurring within abortion facilities, Yoest praised efforts to protect and promote women’s health. She explained that the “lifesaving” legislation in these states protects women and children from “an abortion industry more committed to its financial bottom line than protecting women from a dangerous procedure that is too often performed in substandard facilities.”