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Pro-lifers' streak of state wins continues

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
WASHINGTON (BP)--The New Hampshire legislature has overcome the veto of a parental notification bill, delivering what its advocates consider a victory for unborn babies, pregnant minors and parents.

It is but the latest of pro-life wins on the state level.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 266-102 and the Senate 17-7 for the override, providing the super majority needed to prevail over Democratic Gov. John Lynch's veto. The new law requires an abortion doctor to notify in writing at least one parent of an under-age girl 48 hours before doing an abortion. Republicans control both chambers.

A National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) spokeswoman said the legislature's June 22 action "righted a terrible wrong."

"It should be abundantly clear to Governor Lynch that his veto was out-of-touch with the people and flew in the face of common sense which dictates that an adult male predator shouldn't have more rights than parents," said Mary Spaulding Balch, NRLC's director of state legislation, in a written statement.

Lynch cited the lack of an exception for rape and incest among the reasons for his veto. NRLC said Lynch's stated reasons for the veto form a "litany of excuses" that support exceptions that would aid abusers of minor girls.

There are now 30 states with effective, parental involvement laws that are being enforced, according to NRLC.

Abortion clinics, including those affiliated with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, continue to receive heightened scrutiny in a year marked by widespread pro-life legislation in the states.


Two of the three abortion clinics operating in Kansas have not received licenses under a new law signed by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback in May, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported July 1. Among its provisions, the law requires each clinic to undergo two annual inspections, one without prior notification.

The Planned Parenthood clinic in Overland Park received a license June 30, but the other two -- both in the Kansas City, Kan., area -- are challenging the law in federal court. A hearing was scheduled July 1.

Both houses of the Pennsylvania legislature have approved bills that would strengthen standards for abortion clinics. Both measures call for clinics to meet standards required of out-patient surgery centers. The Senate bill -- passed June 14 in a 38-12 roll call -- covers clinics that perform abortions after nine weeks of pregnancy, while the House of Representatives version includes all abortion clinics, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. There are 20 abortion clinics in the state, the newspaper reported.

But all the news hasn't been good for pro-lifers. Planned Parenthood gained a temporary court victory in South Dakota on June 30, when a federal judge blocked implementation of a new state law a day before it was to take effect. Federal Judge Karen Schreier ruled the law, which requires a woman to visit a pregnancy help center for counseling and wait 72 hours before having an abortion, was an undue burden on women in a state that has only one abortion clinic, the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Argus Leader reported.


In other state actions:

-- Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, signed into law June 29 a budget that prohibits abortions in public hospitals and abortion coverage in insurance plans for local government workers, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

-- Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, signed two pro-life bills June 24, one mandating ultrasounds for women seeking abortions in their first trimester, although they can decline to view the sonogram images, and another strengthening limitations on underage girls seeking judicial bypasses for abortions without their parents being notified.

-- North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue, a Democrat, vetoed legislation June 27 mandating a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion and requiring a doctor to show the mother considering an abortion an ultrasound image of her unborn child.

Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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