Pro-life roundup: Here’s what happened with abortion at the state level this week — By: Catholic News Agency

The pro-life flag from the Pro-Life Flag Project ( / Credit: Pro-Life Flag Project (

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 1, 2024 / 18:50 pm (CNA).

Here’s a look at abortion-related developments that took place in various U.S. states this week. 

Florida’s six-week pro-life law takes effect

Florida’s Heartbeat Protection Act took effect on Wednesday, May 1. The law protects unborn babies from abortion starting at six weeks of pregnancy. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the law back in April 2023, but it remained blocked until an April decision by the state Supreme Court that cleared the way for it to take effect. 

This comes as a high-stakes abortion amendment, effectively legalizing the procedure through all nine months of pregnancy, is set to be included on the ballot this November. 

Arizona Senate votes to repeal law protecting life at conception

In a 16-14 vote the Arizona Senate voted to repeal a law protecting unborn babies from abortion beginning at conception. The so-called “abortion ban repeal” bill passed the Arizona Senate despite a narrow Republican majority, due to two Republicans joining all Democrats to repeal the pro-life law. The Arizona House already passed the repeal bill in a similarly close vote last week. Gov. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, has already said she plans to quickly sign the bill, which will return the state to limiting abortion after 15 weeks. 

South Dakota abortion amendment reaches required signatures

Dakotans for Health, a pro-abortion group in South Dakota, announced on Wednesday that it has exceeded the required number of signatures to add an abortion amendment to the state’s November ballot. The amendment proposal and signatures will need to be vetted by state authorities. If passed, the amendment would override the state’s existing pro-life laws and enshrine abortion into the state constitution. Currently, abortion is only legal in South Dakota if the life of the mother is at risk.

Tennessee governor signs ‘Baby Olivia’ pro-life bill

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill on Tuesday to increase education on fetal development in public schools. The bill mandates that the state’s family life curricula include a three-minute video titled “Baby Olivia,” which was produced by the pro-life group Live Action and shows an unborn baby’s development from conception till birth. 

Several other states — Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, and West Virginia — are also considering passing bills to add the Baby Olivia video to their curriculum.

Maine governor signs out-of-state abortion law

Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed a law last week that seeks to shield out-of-state patients who are seeking abortions or so-called “gender-affirming care” in Maine from possible prosecution. The legislation would prevent their medical records from being shared with law enforcement agencies in other states where such practices have been banned. The law also gives abortionists in the state immunity from any prosecutions on abortions performed on out-of-state women. 

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