LIFE DIGEST: Arkansas governor vetoes abortion ban
- Feb 27, 2013 -
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe has vetoed a ban on abortions at 20 weeks after conception that is based on evidence a baby in the womb experiences pain by that point.
Legislators approved the measure with such overwhelming majorities that it appears likely they will be able to override the governor’s veto and enact the bill into law. The Senate voted 25-7 for the legislation, while the House of Representatives passed it with a 75-20 vote.
Also in this edition: Planned Parenthood in Colorado sued for forced abortion and Planned Parenthood to close two centers in Iowa.
Beebe, a Democrat, rejected the bill Feb. 26 though seven states have enacted similar legislation. In a veto letter, he contended the measure “would squarely contradict Supreme Court precedent.” Beebe also expressed concern about the cost to Arkansas taxpayers to defend the law in court.
Rep. Andy Mayberry, a Republican and chief House sponsor of the bill, expressed disappointment but said he planned to pursue an override.
The Arkansas bill follows a model bill drafted by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) that is known as the Pain-capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The model proposal bars an abortion at 20 weeks or more except when the mother has a condition that requires the procedure “to avert death or to avert serious risk of substantial or irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”
Mary Spaulding Balch, NRLC’s director of state legislation, said in a written statement, “Most people oppose the killing of unborn children who are capable of feeling pain. A significant number of studies have proven that unborn babies feel pain. Unfortunately, with this veto, it is still legal in the state of Arkansas to kill these pain-capable unborn children. We are confident that the state legislature will agree with the majority of people who want to protect these unborn children from abortion and will vote to override the governor’s veto.”
Planned Parenthood in Colorado sued for forced abortion
A doctor at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo., forcibly aborted a baby and left part of the child’s body inside the mother, according to a new lawsuit.
Ayanna Byer, 40, filed suit Feb. 6 against Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, alleging an unnamed doctor at the clinic performed an abortion on her in November even though she told him she had changed her mind, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is representing her. When she failed to receive anesthetic, Byer said she did not want to proceed with the abortion, according to the suit. The doctor told Byer it was too late and began performing the abortion with a vacuum machine in spite of the lack of anesthetic. After about seven minutes, he halted the procedure and sent Byer home with pain pills, she said. A portion of her unborn child’s body remained within her body without her knowledge, however.
Two days later, she went to the emergency room at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs. She underwent an emergency D and C.
Steven Foley, who performed what he described as “high-risk surgery” on Byer, was concerned she night have had an ectopic pregnancy and contacted the Planned Parenthood clinic to check on pathology reports. In a written statement, Foley said clinic personnel told him they do not perform pathology tests. Instead, the abortion doctor “looks” at the tissue, Foley said he was told.
Foley expressed his concerns in a written review, saying, “No practicing physician can maintain privileges to practice and perform surgery if they do not provide specific coverage for their patients in case of a complication. It is considered ‘abandonment’ of your patient. It is not acceptable to refer your patients to the Emergency Department and assume the on-call doctor will take care of any complications and assume all the risk associated with the complications.
“It is medically inappropriate for a physician to remove products of conception and not confirm the diagnosis with pathology,” Foley wrote. “I know of no physician or hospital that would allow the removal of a specimen of this nature and assume what the diagnosis was by just ‘looking’ at it.”
Doug Romero, a lawyer affiliated with ADF, said in a written statement, “A woman’s life is more important than Planned Parenthood’s bottom line. What Planned Parenthood did to Ayanna is beyond the pale. They clearly put her through extraordinary cruelty and jeopardized her life. Their actions were intolerable.”
Planned Parenthood to close two centers in Iowa
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland will close two of its centers in Iowa, including one that provides abortions.
The affiliate of the country’s No. 1 abortion provider said Feb. 20 it would close its centers at Fort Madison and Spencer, according to The Des Moines Register. The Spencer clinic provides abortion services. Planned Parenthood closed three abortion clinics and another center last year, according to Iowa Right to Life.
The action was motivated partly by new regulations under the 2010 federal health care law popularly known as Obamacare, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman told The Register.
Jenifer Bowen, executive director of Iowa Right to Life, said, “It would be ironic if Planned Parenthood fought so hard for Obamacare and the publicly funded birth control mandate and had to lay off or cut the hours of their own staff to keep from paying the additional benefits required by Obamacare.”
With the latest closings, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland will have 19 clinics in Iowa and seven combined in Arkansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma.
Bowen told The Register, “It is not our desire to see the state of Iowa have so many abortion clinics. Obviously, every abortion is a life lost.”
The national organization, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, reported its affiliates performed a record 333,964 abortions during 2010-11, the most recent year for which statistics are available. Planned Parenthood also established a record for funds received from federal, state and local governments with $542.4 million in government grants and reimbursements during the latest fiscal year.
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