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Monday, August 29, 2005

Many Changes Regarding Abortion One State At A Time

From WaPo:Three states have passed bills requiring that women seeking an abortion be warned that the fetus will feel pain, despite inconclusive scientific data on the question. West Virginia and Florida approved legislation recognizing a pre-viable fetus, or embryo, as an independent victim of homicide. And in Missouri, Gov. Matt Blunt (R) has summoned lawmakers into special session Sept. 6 to consider three antiabortion proposals.

Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) has signed legislation that makes a "viable fetus" a distinct victim of a crime such as murder or manslaughter.

South Dakota has been among the most active states, passing five new laws, including a "trigger" law that would impose an immediate abortion ban after any Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade .

Last year, "there was an attempt to engage in a full-frontal assault of Roe versus Wade " with an outright ban, said Brock L. Greenfield, a state senator who is director of South Dakota Right to Life. But similar bills have been found unconstitutional, and Gov. Mike Rounds (R) vetoed the bill on technical grounds.

The other measures include stricter parental notification requirements and a provision adding an "unborn child" as a distinct victim to the state's criminal code for charges of murder in the first and second degree. In its new informed-consent law, South Dakota requires physicians to tell women seeking an abortion about the "existing relationship between a pregnant woman and her unborn child," and that all abortions "terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique living human being."

Missouri, for example, has set aside $1 million to encourage low-income pregnant women to carry a pregnancy to full term and potentially give the infant up for adoption.

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