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January 15, 2015
Column #1,742
Abortion in America After 42 Years
By Mike McManus

Where does abortion in America stand 42 years after it was legalized by the Supreme Court in its Roe v. Wade decision?

Opponents of abortion are encouraged. National Right to Life (NRL) endorsed 283 pro-life candidates for the U.S. House or Senate, and 90% won their elections.

Now that Congress and two-thirds of state legislatures under Republican control, conservatives hope to pass historic legislation. Elections have consequences.

Congress will probably enact legislation to limit abortion to the first 20 weeks of gestation – a law already passed by 10 states. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act passed the House in 2013, but was blocked for a vote in the Senate by Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“It’s long past time for us to join the ranks of most other civilized nations for protect children past 20 weeks in the womb,” declared the new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Indeed, 191 nations already prohibit abortion after 12 to 20 weeks while America is one of only four countries that do not.

“More than 18,000 `very late term’ abortions are performed every year on perfectly healthy unborn babies in America,” says Rep. Trent Franks, who is sponsoring the bill in the House with Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. “These are innocent and defenseless children who can not only feel pain, but who can survive outside the womb in most cases, and who are torturously killed without even anesthesia.” (The bill includes exceptions for rape, incest and the health of the mother.)

Republican unity on the 20-week ban is a refreshing contrast to infamous conservative stumbles on abortion land minds in recent years – most notably Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s claim in 2012 that women don’t get pregnant after “legitimate” rapes.

By contrast, the 20-week ban is an easy-to-explain proposal that will please conservatives without alienating swing voters who would oppose a frontal assault on Roe v. Wade. Rep. Franks asserts, “This is something we can all get together on. The truth is that this bill is a deeply sincere effort to protect both mothers and their pain-capable unborn babies.”

The bill has the support of eight potential Republican presidential hopefuls: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sens. Ron Paul, John Thune, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Governors Mike Pence of Indiana and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, plus former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas.

The House is expected to pass the bill January 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and the day of the March for Life, the annual mass demonstration by anti-abortion activists in Washington.

A second bill likely to pass Congress is the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which would prohibit subsidies for abortion and health coverage including abortion in Obamacare.

Planned Parenthood, America’s biggest provider of abortions – 327,000 in 2013 – receives 41% of its $1.3 billion income from government. Federal law supposedly prevents funding for abortions, while state and local governments fund them.

However, Obamacare mandates that private corporations providing health insurance, such as Blue Cross, must make the abortion inducing drugs available. Even Catholic universities are required to do so. Sixty lawsuits have been filed to halt the practice, and the Supreme Court did rule that two private corporations which were morally opposed to giving abortion drugs – could stop.

Action is also expected in many state legislatures, 69 of which (out of 99) are held by the GOP, with 31 Republican governors. In the last four years states have enacted more than 200 pro-life laws designed “to address the abuses of a largely unregulated, unrestricted and unaccountable abortion industry,” said Americans United for Life.

It states that only nine states offer strong legal protections for women, while 16 states provide moderate protection. A dozen states offer minimal protection while 13 states are “ranked as dangerous,” such as NY, IL, NJ, and all on the West Coast.

The most dramatic state proposal is the Kansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. “Dismemberment abortion kills a baby by tearing her apart limb from limb,” said NRL’s Mary Balch.

According to Operation Rescue, 73 abortion facilities were closed down in 2014. Texas alone closed 10 of its 40 facilities due to their failure to be linked to nearby hospitals. In fact, three-fourths of abortion clinics open in 1991 – have closed.

And the number of abortions has dropped 550,000 from a 1.6 million peak in 1990.

There is a lot to celebrate this anniversary.

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