Several US states consider bills regulating abortion

Pregnancy Test. / Flickr/Ernesto Andrade.

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Apr 22, 2021 / 20:01 pm (CNA).

Numerous states of the US have been considering bills regulating abortion in recent weeks.

In Idaho, a bill which would ban abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat passed the Senate on April 21 and is awaiting the governor’s signature.

The day before, the bill advanced through the Senate State Affairs Committee, and was voted through the Senate by a vote of 25-7. The bill contains exceptions in cases of rape, incest, or medical emergency.

“This is good legislation that gives a preborn child the same rights as a mother,” said Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, a Republican who sponsored the bill.

It is unknown if Gov. Brad Little (R) will sign the bill.

Unlike other “heartbeat” bills, Idaho’s legislation will not go into effect until similar legislation in another state has been cleared by a federal court. Presently, all attempts at passing “heartbeat” abortion bans have been blocked by federal courts.

Two bills are currently sitting on the desk of Oklahoma Gov. Ken Stitt (R). One bans abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat; the other would suspend a doctor’s license for a maximum of one year if they perform an abortion.

If the bills are not signed by the end of the week, they will go into effect in November.

In Tennessee, lawmakers passed a bill requiring women to bury or cremate fetal remains after a surgical abortion at an abortion clinic. The bill is now on the governor’s desk, awaiting his signature.

Abortion clinics would be required to pay for the cost of burying or cremating the remains of the infant, unless a woman chooses to dispose of the remains at a different location. In that case, the woman who procured the abortion would have to pay for the burial or cremation.

Typically, fetal remains after abortions are treated as medical waste and disposed.

The bills’ sponsor, Rep. Tim Rudd (R-Murfreesboro), said that “charities (are) out there that are set up to help with the burial expenses” of an aborted child.

Additionally, under the bill, a woman who undergoes an abortion would have to fill out a form for the Tennessee Department of Health describing how and where the fetal remains will be disposed.

In Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) signed a bill April 21 requiring women who were sexually assaulted and seeking an abortion after the 20th week of a pregnancy to report their assault to the authorities.

In Arkansas, abortion is available until the 20th week of a pregnancy, with limited exceptions. Last month, Hutchinson signed a bill that effectively banned abortion altogether in the state; however, it has not gone into effect.

When Hutchinson signed the bill, SB6, he noted that it is contrary to established precedent set by the Supreme Court, but that he hopes the bill will be used to overturn these precedents.

“SB6 is in contradiction of binding precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court, but it is the intent of the legislation to set the stage for the Supreme Court overturning current case law,” Hutchinson said at the time.

In Ohio, lawmakers are once again considering a version of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which requires that doctors provide lifesaving care to infants who are born alive after an attempted abortion.

Under Senate Bill 157, a doctor who is found in violation of the law will be charged with “abortion manslaughter,” a felony.

“The heart of the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act is quite simple: no helpless newborn child should be left alone to die,” Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said in a published statement.

“It is our sincere hope that shared human decency will compel legislators at the Ohio Statehouse to come together to protect innocent, born babies desperate for a chance to live.”

A similar bill was previously considered in 2019. While that bill passed the Ohio Senate, it was not voted on in the Ohio House of Representatives.

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