1/19/2008 8:29:00 AM
By Illinois Right to Life Committee -William Beckman
Americans United for Life (AUL) has released their fifth annual ranking of the most and least Pro-Life states. AUL works with state legislators across the nation to pass effective Pro-Life laws. This new national ranking of states shows Michigan in the lead, followed by Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Kansas.
AUL's criteria covers each state's treatment of all Pro-Life issues and the final ranking depends largely on each state's enactment of prudent and well-supported laws limiting abortions as much as the Supreme Court has allowed. Among the laws that AUL looks for are informed consent, parental involvement for minors, abortion facility regulations, and abortion funding limits.
Illinois falls far short in all of these categories, leading to a ranking of 38th out of the 50 states. About the only positive to be drawn from this ranking is not falling into the bottom 10 - yet.
Illinois has no informed consent law on abortion so women are not given any facts about the adverse consequences of abortion before receiving one. Illinois has a parental notification of abortion law, but it still sits dormant waiting for a decision from Federal Judge David Coar on removal of the Federal injunction preventing enforcement of the law. Meanwhile, abortions on out-of-state minors continue to rise because Illiniois is a haven for bypassing the parental involvement laws in effect in all surrounding states. Only vigorous efforts from Pro-Life lobbyists and concerned citizens prevented passage of a bill in 2007 that would have revoked parental notification even before it could take effect.
It has been stated that veterinary clinics are more regulated than abortion clinics in Illinois. Weak abortion clinic regulations in Illinois can be attributed to a 1989 settlement accepted by pro-abortion Attorney General Neil Hartigan in a lawsuit filed by Dr. Richard Ragsdale, a Rockford, IL physician, against Dr. Bernard Turnock, the state's Public Health Director, challenging Illinois abortion regulations. lllinois taxpayers are required to fund so-called "medically necessary" abortions, essentially funding abortion-on-demand given the Federal courts' broad definition of "health" in the context of abortion.
Beyond abortion, some positives do exist under Illinois criminal law. The killing of an unborn child at any stage of gestation is defined as a form of homicide and Illinois defines nonfatal assaults on an unborn child as a crime. Illinois law also requires that viable infants who survive an abortion must be given appropriate medical care. These may be about the only positives keeping the Pro-Life ranking of Illinois above the bottom 10 states.
AUL lists a number of opportunities for improvement of Illinois laws, including informed consent, regulation of abortion clinics, and better protection of patients' end-of-life decisions. Unfortunately, with the current anti-life composition of the Illinois legislature, it is unlikely that real progress can be made on any of these issues in 2008.
Illinois Right to Life Committee