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State legislatures OK more pro-life bills

WASHINGTON (BP)–State legislators continue to send pro-life bills to supportive governors for their signatures.

Measures restricting abortion are awaiting endorsement from the governors of Florida, Kansas and Texas. All the governors — Florida’s Rick Scott, Kansas’ Sam Brownback and Texas’ Rick Perry — are expected to sign the bills, and all are Republicans.

The actions add to a variety of pro-life measures already signed into law in this year’s state legislative sessions.

The Florida legislature passed five pro-life bills in the late days of its session — four Scott is expected to sign and one that voters will consider. The measures sent to Scott will, according to a May 9 article by the Florida Baptist Witness:

— mandate ultrasounds for women seeking abortions in their first trimester, although they can decline to view the sonogram images or hear descriptions of their unborn children.

— prohibit insurance coverage of abortions in a future state exchange established by last year’s federal health-care reform law.

— toughen limitations on underage girls seeking judicial bypasses for abortions without their parents being notified.

— change the method of dispersing funds gained from the sale of Choose Life license plates.

The measure to go before Florida’s voters in 2012 would amend the constitution to ban the use of state funds for abortions.

Bill Bunkley, the Florida Baptist Convention’s legislative consultant, told the Witness legislators would accomplish nothing that would “leave a more lasting legacy in their tenure than the future babies they stood in the gap for these last few weeks. I am very proud of all of them.”

In Kansas, the Senate gave final approval April 27 to legislation that will strengthen health and safety requirements for abortion clinics, according to The Wichita Eagle. Unannounced inspections would take place yearly after the measure takes effect.

In Texas, the House of Representatives provided final passage May 5 to a bill mandating that most women seeking abortions have an ultrasound at least 24 hours before the procedure and be given a verbal description of the child, the Southern Baptist TEXAN reported.

In other state actions:

— The Minnesota House passed two pro-life measures May 6: 1) A ban on abortions after 20 weeks of gestation based on scientific evidence a baby in the womb experiences pain by that point and, 2) a prohibition on state funding of elective abortions.

— North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue, a pro-choice Democrat, signed into law April 29 a bill which criminalizes violent acts against unborn children during crimes against their mothers.
Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.