10.21.2013

Abortion Regs that Protect Life Foster Family Restoration

After Texas Governor Perry called for a special session to vote on HB 2, a bill to protect preborn children from pain inflicted by abortion when the child is 20 weeks gestational age, the bill was passed by a margin of 19-11, marking an unparalleled opportunity to protect innocent babies in Texas, while also protection mothers.  To find out more about the bill, the controversy over it, and the future implications of its passage see the New York Times article on it.

The bill will also increase safety standards for licensed abortion facilities, require that chemical induced (RU486) abortions are performed by FDA standards to protect women’s health, and will require physicians who perform abortions to be qualified to treat life-threatening complications after a flawed abortion by having privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility. 

Advocates for both sides of the debate gathered at the Texas capitol to provide testimony and support, but few expected the level of public incivility that followed when in response to #Stand4Life advocates pro-abortion activists throughout the day shouted epithets in an effort to drown out pro-life speeches and an impromptu rendering of "Amazing Grace." It was clearly a spiritual battle as well as a political one.  CNN's Josh Rubin confirmed these events by tweeting on site: "Crowd of anti-abortion activists giving speeches while a group of people chant 'hail Satan' in the background.” 

Most Americans favor banning abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. But the poll also shows many Americans remain conflicted in their views on abortion. 

Texas’ decision to regulate the off-label use of abortion-causing drugs such as RU-486 is similar to a 2011 Oklahoma measure which is now being reviewed by the Supreme Court of the United States (in a case known as  Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice).  Eight women have died from bacterial infections following an RU-486 medical abortion administered according to one of the off-label protocols, whereas no women have died from such infections following use of the FDA-approved protocol.  Thus, the Oklahoma, and now Texas, Legislatures acted to address this serious health and safety problem by requiring that RU-486 and other abortion-inducing drugs be administered according to the FDA's prescribed protocol, though the Oklahoma Supreme Court held--without analysis or discussion--that the Oklahoma law is facially unconstitutional under Planned Parenthood v. Casey.  The U.S. Supreme Court granted the state of Oklahoma's request to review that decision, and asked the Supreme Court of Oklahoma to answer whether the Oklahoma law prohibits: (1) the use of misoprostol to induce abortions, including the use of misoprostol in conjunction with mifepristone according to a protocol approved by the Food and Drug Administration; and (2) the use of methotrexate to treat ectopic pregnancies.  This is an historic review, and the U.S. Supreme Court has stayed further proceedings in this case until they receive a response from the Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

The United States Congress will vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797) which states that because there is substantial medical evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain at least by 20 weeks after fertilization, a compelling governmental interest exists in protecting unborn children from this stage. Congressman Trent Franks (R-Az) who has sponsored the bill stated, “Knowingly subjecting our innocent unborn children to dismemberment in the womb, particularly when they have developed to the point that they can feel excruciating pain every terrible moment leading up to their undeserved deaths, belies everything America was called to be. This is not who we are.”  Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., introduced the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to Congress in April. The House approved the bill by a vote of 228-196. More information on it is available at CitizenLink. 

All of these bills are pro-woman, pro-child, pro-science, and pro-family.   Finally, the Tenth Circuit Court of the United States provided an important victory for Christian business owners against the HHS Contraception Mandate, as Hobby Lobby and its sister organization, Mardel, a Christian bookstores proprietor, were upheld in their refusal to provide coverage of drugs they believe cause abortion and, therefore, violate their religious beliefs. The Tenth Circuit held "that Hobby Lobby and Mardel are entitled to bring claims under RFRA (the Religious Freedom Restoration Act), have established a likelihood of success that their rights under this statute are substantially burdened by the contraceptive-coverage requirement, and have established an irreparable harm. But we remand the case to the district court for further proceedings on two of the remaining factors governing the grant or denial of a preliminary injunction.” The District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma subsequently granted the injunction.

Protecting lives of mothers and preborn children is a solid key to family restoration.  Texas made a bold step in that direction this past summer.  Congress and federal courts could follow.

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