Abortion Debate Likely to Heat Up in 2012
Last year was a pivotal one for abortion laws. Dozens of restrictions were passed in the states — nearly a record since the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion.
This year, anti-abortion groups say they’ll focus on passing more restrictions, and on a state-by-state campaign to grant constitutional rights to embryos.
The anti-abortion strategy this year is to pass bills that would ban abortions earlier, and to change the legal definition of personhood — an effort that would outlaw abortions.
Among our top priorities this year is to continue to ensure Planned Parenthood is not receiving government funds, to pass clinic regulations that will ensure the health and safety of women, and also to ensure that insurance plans do not cover abortion.
- Kellie Fiedorek, Americans United for Life
Last month, the National Right to Life Committee announced it would push bills to prohibit abortions at 20 weeks, based on the assumption that fetuses can feel pain. Five states have passed this law. Mary Spaulding Balch, state legislation director for the group, says that’s just the beginning.
“No serious challenge, no serious legal challenge, has been mounted to any of these state laws to date,” she says. “And we know that these laws work.”
A version of the fetal pain bill was just introduced in Congress targeting the District of Columbia. Other bills would ban private insurance companies from covering abortions, and restrict federal and state funding to any abortion provider. That’s a key goal of Americans United for Life. Kellie Fiedorek is an attorney with the anti-abortion group.
“Among our top priorities this year is to continue to ensure Planned Parenthood is not receiving government funds, to pass clinic regulations that will ensure the health and safety of women, and also to ensure that insurance plans do not cover abortion,” she says.