Bench Briefs

Wednesday, March 30, 2011Bench Briefs Forward Button


In this issue: Pro-life momentum continues at the state level, as bills advance in Arkansas, Idaho and Virginia. Next week: Stay tuned for news from Missouri. 

Arkansas Senators Protect Women with
Landslide Votes on Two Bills Based on
AUL's Model Legislation



State senators in Arkansas approved two bills last week based on AUL’s model legislation in landslide votes, providing women unique pro-life protections in the law.  

 The Arkansas Senate voted 22 to 7 for SB840, the Abortion Inducing Drugs Safety Act, sponsored by Sen. Missy Irvin.  In even greater numbers, the state senators voted 25 to 4 in support of Sen. Jason Rapert’s sponsored SB845, the Abortion Patients’ Enhanced Safety Act, which upgrades clinic regulations to meet the standard of ambulatory surgical centers. These bills are slated to be heard in the Arkansas House Public Health Committee on Thursday.

AUL Action President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest commended Arkansas’ Senators and called on the State House to follow suit. “It is now up to the Arkansas House to show women that their health and safety is more important than politically correct support for a poorly regulated abortion industry,” she said.

The Abortion Patients’ Enhanced Safety Act addresses the problem of dangerous conditions for women in abortion clinics. The bill will require abortion clinics to be licensed and inspected regularly by state officials and to meet the same high standards for patient care and safety as ambulatory surgical centers. The Abortion Inducing Drugs Safety Act requires that physicians examine a woman before dispensing an abortion-inducing drug to assess the stage of the pregnancy and to ensure that she does not have any hidden conditions making the drug even more dangerous for her. It also requires that abortion-causing drugs be administered only in ways approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

For more information on the “Abortion Patients’ Enhanced Safety Act” or “Abortion Patients’ Enhanced Safety Act” go to AUL's Model Legislation page.

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Idaho Legislators Move One Step Closer to Getting Their State Taxpayers Out
of the Business of Abortion

Idaho State HouseMoving one-step closer to becoming the sixth state to opt-out of abortion coverage in President Obama’s health care law, the Idaho State House voted 56 to 12 to keep state tax monies out of insurance exchanges that cover abortions. The bill is now headed to the desk of Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter who is expected to sign the pro-life protections into law.

“Protecting the American taxpayer from participation in the abortion industry is a bi-partisan effort,” Dr. Yoest said. “Pro-life Americans everywhere are thankful for the efforts in Idaho.’

The opt-out legislation, SB 1115, which prohibits the use of federal subsidies for abortion coverage in state insurance exchanges, was based on AUL’s model legislation. AUL’s Idaho state director Christ Troupis worked closely with the legislators moving the effort forward.  

Dr. Yoest noted, “Pregnancy is not a disease for which abortion is the cure. Abortion is not health care and should not be included in these insurance plans at taxpayers’ expense.”

For more information on public funding restrictions on abortions, go read the Abortion section of Defending Life 2011.

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Virginia's Governor Signs Critical Legislation Protecting Women in Abortion Clinics

bb-virginia-mcdonnell-caption2.jpgOver the weekend, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed legislation mandating stricter regulation of abortion clinics and requiring “facilities in which five or more first-trimester abortions per month are performed” to comply with the medically-appropriate health and safety standards already applied to outpatient surgical centers. Over the past two decades, abortion clinics only had to meet the less stringent standards imposed on nonsurgical doctors’ offices. The legislation requires the State Board of Health to issue new implementing regulations by September 1. Final regulations will be fast-tracked, and according to media reports, could be in effect early this fall. 

To read more about this exciting development, click here.

To learn about AUL's model clinic regulation legislation, click here.

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In the News

Christianity Today notes AUL’s involvement in a number of state-based, pro-life bills. To read more, click here.

Newsbusters analyzes a CBS News story involving AUL and the sweep of pro-life legislation at the state level.

Baptist Press takes an in-depth look at pro-life bills passing at the state level and AUL’s participation. Click here to read more.


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