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Pro-abortion “State of the States” examines why abortion will be a hot issue in state legislatures in 2021

by | Jan 26, 2021

By Dave Andrusko

Anything coming out of Pew Research on abortion, including its annual “State of the States”  series, will be saturated in pro-abortion bias. That’s simply a fact. 

So I didn’t expect much when Pew’s  “Stateline” staff wrote about “Legislating for the Courts,” the first of its examinations of “the pressing issues state lawmakers are facing as they begin their work this legislative session.” 

Its summary preview, however, is on the money:

President Donald Trump lost the election, but he used his four years in office to change the face of the federal judiciary, appointing more than 220 conservative judges. The altered legal landscape will profoundly affect how state lawmakers grapple with legislation that is likely to end up in the courts, especially measures to restrict abortion or expand access to it.

Let’s look at Scott S. Greenberger’s “Trump-Appointed Judges Fuel Abortion Debate in the States.” You see the tilt in the title. Abortion debate can only be “fueled” by judges appointed by President Trump, not by judges appointed by other Presidents who habitually torch protective state abortion laws.

Be that as it may, let’s look at Greenberger’s explanation of why the Trump appointments are leading to great legislative initiatives in the states, pro-life and pro-abortion.

Rather than employ the usual pro-abortion talking point—if Roe were overturned abortion would be “criminalized” and abortions would be rare—he writes that in that scenario pro-abortion “legislators want to make sure that wherever possible, abortion rights are enshrined in state law.” (What he doesn’t go into is how state Supreme Courts have found an imaginary “right” to abortion in their state constitutions, but that’s not his topic.)

So pro-abortionists will heat up the “sky is falling” hysteria to pass abortion on demand legislation extending that “right” until birth—and insist that taxpayers pay for them, all the while innocently proclaiming they are merely “codifying Roe.”

By contrast pro-life legislators will creatively pass a number of measures to rein in abortion by highlighting what pro-abortionists desperately seek to hide: they are just fine with sex selection abortions, abortions performed because the unborn baby has been diagnosed with Down syndrome, and abortions which inflict unimaginable pain on babies by no later than 20 weeks post-fertilization.

Greenberger employs the go-to academic, Mary Ziegler, to tell him “she expects ’a ton’ of abortion bills in state legislatures this session, primarily because [Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney] Barrett’s appointment will prompt ‘a pretty energetic response from conservative lawmakers.’

But there are “other reasons why lawmakers in many states will grapple with abortion access this year,” Greenberger writes about that are worth noting. One is “Republicans strengthened their legislative majorities in some states and won the governor’s mansion in Montana, clearing the way for anti-abortion rights legislation that had been blocked.” 

Much of the rest of his piece details pro-life legislative proposals in other states, all of which have been written about at NRL News Today, including today.

For all these reasons—the more than 220 Constitution-respecting Trump appointments made to the federal courts, and three to the Supreme Court; pro-life successes at the ballot box in many states in 2020; the creativity of pro-life state legislators—guarantees that 2021 will witness many pro-life bills as well as pro-abortion initiatives in states where Democrats are thoroughly ensconced.

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