June is known as the month for weddings, but May 2019 has proved to be a stellar month for pro-life victories across the nation.
On May 29, Louisiana legislators on a vote of 73-23 enacted a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, the latest in a string of “heartbeat” bill victories. John Bel Edwards was expected to sign it and become the only Democrat governor to sign such a law.
On May 23, Missouri Republican Gov. Michael L. Parson signed into law a measure banning abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood have threatened to sue.
Alabama now has the most comprehensive pro-life law in place, effectively protecting unborn children at every stage in pregnancy. On May 15, Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed the law and stated:
“To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.”
The law includes an exception for cases where a woman’s health is at “serious” risk, but lawmakers, as in Louisiana, rejected adding exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
Abortionists could be charged with a felony and face up to 99 years in prison. On May 24, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit challenging the Alabama law.
On May 7, Georgia became the sixth state to ban abortions when a baby’s heartbeat is detected. Signed into law by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, the Living Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act (HB481), will take effect in January 2020.
The new law also redefines “natural persons,” expanding the term to include “an unborn child.”
“I don’t think we left any stone unturned to get this bill across the finish line,” said Janet Porter, president of Faith2Action and the architect of the nationwide campaign to enact heartbeat legislation. Faith2Action is one of more than 30 ministries supported by Timothy Partners.
“It’s a bill that I hope will be welcomed by the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Pro-abortion groups, including the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights, have vowed to sue to overturn the law and similar laws enacted recently in Ohio and Mississippi. They filed successful challenges in three other states, with judges striking down heartbeat laws in Iowa and North Dakota and delaying one in Kentucky.
Ohio’s law, signed by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine in April, is set to take effect in July. The bill had passed twice before but was blocked by former Gov. John Kasich. The ACLU has sued to stop it.
Georgia’s new law, which, like the others bars abortion when a baby’s heartbeat is detected – usually around six weeks – has riled Hollywood’s pro-abortion activists. Georgia has a thriving movie industry, with the Walt Disney Company, Netflix, and others shooting films there. Disney’s Marvel division, in particular, has filmed some of its superhero sagas in the Peach State, including much content in the current blockbuster “Avengers: Endgame.”
The Writers Guild of America issued a statement warning that: “This law would make Georgia an inhospitable place for those in the film and television industry to work, including our members.”
Apparently, Hollywood scripters get writer’s block if they can’t work without easy access to abortion.
Amid such pressure, former Republican Gov. Nathan Deal blocked previous Georgia heartbeat bills.
Mississippi’s heartbeat bill was signed into law in March by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant. Slated to take effect in July, it faces a lawsuit from the Center for Reproductive Rights. In November, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves, who was appointed by President Obama, struck down a previous Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks.
Kentucky’s heartbeat law, signed by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin on March 15, was supposed to take effect immediately but was blocked by Obama appointee Judge David J. Hale of the Western District of Kentucky, who said the law needed a hearing in his court first.
Iowa enacted a heartbeat law in 2018, but it was blocked by Iowa state court Judge Michael D. Huppert. The Hawkeye State still has laws requiring that parents of a minor be notified before she obtains an abortion, ultrasounds taken before each abortion and that the governor personally must approve each Medicaid-funded abortion.
North Dakota enacted the firsts “fetal heartbeat” law in 2013, but lower courts halted it, and in 2016, the Supreme Court refused to review the case, blocking it permanently.
Other states are moving to consider heartbeat bills. In Alabama, the Senate postponed a vote this week after an exception for rape was struck from the heartbeat bill, whose provisions were summarized this way by National Public Radio: “The bill criminalizes abortion, meaning doctors would face felony jail time up to 99 years if convicted. The only exceptions are for a serious health risk to the pregnant woman, or a lethal anomaly of the fetus. There are no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. A woman would not be held criminally liable for having an abortion.”
Launched in 2010 by Mrs. Porter, a longtime pro-life activist, Faith2Action is an Ohio-based umbrella group that facilitates actions by the entire pro-family movement.
Under Mrs. Porter’s leadership, Faith2Action began in 2010 to lead the campaign to enact “heartbeat” laws all over America.
“Faith2Action is about being faithful where the battle is the hottest,” Mrs. Porter says. “Where our Bible-based beliefs and freedoms are most at risk. But beyond defending the issues that are most under attack, Faith2Action is about advancing–taking back ground. Our goal isn’t to just survive the cultural war, but to win it.”
She says that Georgia is just the latest victory in what will be a long campaign to end abortion altogether.
“Stay tuned,” she said.