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State Legislative Update: NRLC affiliates celebrate the many prolife laws that enacted in the 2024 legislative session

by | May 9, 2024

By Ingrid Duran, State Legislative Director

In the post-Dobbs legislative arena, states are actively looking for ways to continue to protect unborn children and their mothers from the most extreme abortion industry culture.  The 2024 state legislative session started off at a slow pace but then picked up with a few welcoming surprises along the way.

The South Dakota Legislature passed a resolution opposing the initiated pro-abortion ballot measure that may appear on the ballot in November.  Both Houses of the legislature concluded that “the proposed amendment to the Constitution would fail to protect human life, would fail to protect a pregnant woman, and would fail to protect the child she bears.”

South Dakota also enacted a law, signed by Governor Kristi Lynn Noem, which provides a process to withdraw someone’s signature from a petition, referendum, constitutional amendment, or for an initiated measure.  In addition, South Dakota enacted a law that creates an informational video and other materials describing the state’s abortion law and medical care for a pregnant woman experiencing life-threatening or health-threatening medical conditions.

“Safe haven” laws allow birth parents to legally and safely surrender their newborn infants. Many states passed these laws in the early 2000’s. This past session four states passed laws which would amend their current safe haven law.

Due to the relentless tenacity of the staff at Maryland Right to Life, Maryland’s Governor signed the Maryland Safe Haven Program. Laura Bogley, J.D., Executive Director of Maryland Right to Life, who never backs down from a fight, was determined to get this law passed.

“The original Maryland Safe Haven Program was enacted more than two decades ago and essentially left to collect dust,” Bogley said. “This strengthened law will ensure that Maryland women are provided greater access to this lifesaving alternative to abortion or abandonment.”

Kentucky and Nebraska, like Maryland, amended their laws to include a public awareness campaign so people are aware that they can safely and legally surrender their newborn baby.  In Idaho, their safe haven law was amended to include the placement of newborn safety device.

While our opponents only offer abortion as a resolution to an unplanned pregnancy, states responded by creating life-affirming safety nets so families do not feel pressure to abort. Nebraska Governor James Pillen signed a bill into law creating the Nebraska Prenatal Plus Program for at-risk mothers who are eligible for Medicaid. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed a bill that would provide for presumptive eligibility for pregnant women under Medicaid.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed two bills into law. The first law provides for more life-affirming resources for maternal support. The second extends eligibility for pregnant women and infants under the Medicaid program.

The Florida Legislature passed a bill that would require the Department of Health to provide certain information as well as the website addresses to pregnancy and parenting resources in the state.

Other laws that have been enacted include Tennessee’s “Baby Olivia.” Under provisions of this law, any presentation in schools regarding family life are required to address human growth and show an informational video about a preborn child at various gestational ages that shows a graphic of a high-definition ultrasound or a computer-generated animation.

Both houses of the Tennessee Legislature passed the NRLC model bill which prevents abortion trafficking of an unemancipated minor without parental knowledge.  Missouri’s legislature passed a bill aimed at defunding the abortion industry. Both of these bills will soon be sent to their respective Governors—Bill Lee in Tennessee and Mike Person in Missouri.

Other reasons to celebrate this legislative session: due to the diligence of NRLC’s affiliate Maryland Right to Life, doctor-prescribed suicide was defeated in Maryland.  In Maine and Virginia, our opposition was not able to advance pro-abortion constitutional amendments.  Also, Virginia’s Governor Glenn  Youngkin vetoed three dangerous bills which would give abortion providers cover who violate other states’ pro-life laws.

To no one’s surprise, Laura Kelly, Kansas’s pro-abortion governor, vetoed several prolife bills. One of the vetoed bills provides tax credits for pregnancy resource centers; another amends statistical reporting of abortions; a third prevents coercion of abortion; and fourth, a budget bill with a rider in it to continue funding for pregnancy resource centers.  NRLC’s affiliate, Kansans for Life, is preparing for a veto session in this last week of April and they are alerting their base to call their elected officials and ask them to vote to override Gov. Kelly’s veto.

There were two states that passed reprehensible bills. In Maine. Governor Janet Mills signed into law a bill that affirms a legal right to abortion. In Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed into law a bill that will create grants for abortion clinics to increase security measures against “pro-life violence.”

Even with the bumps in the road, the prolife movement can still celebrate the many prolife laws that were enacted so far in the 2024 legislative session. These laws send a message that we can build a society that respects and honors both the mother and child.

Categories: State Legislation