Delaware has passed a bill to guarantee abortion rights in the state should Roe v. Wade be overturned, a move that removed restrictions in current law.
Pro-life advocates strongly opposed the legislation, signed last week by Gov. John Carney, a Democrat.
“With a pro-life President in the White House and already one pro-life Justice nominated and confirmed, abortion advocates are running scared,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, in a June 6 news release written to rally support for defeating the bill. “Planned Parenthood and the ACLU are using Delaware as a testing ground for their extreme legislation to ensure abortionists can carry out abortions without limit – even on healthy children hours from birth.”
Before the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling, laws about abortion were left entirely to the states. The court in Roe v. Wade ruled 7-2 that banning abortions denied women a right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment. The decision gave women total autonomy over pregnancy during the first trimester but allowed states some say over the second and third trimesters.
The new law in Delaware removes existing restrictions on abortion, including a parental consent law for minors and a 24-hour waiting period, until viability, defined as a likelihood to survive outside the womb without “extraordinary medical measures.” Abortions can be performed past that point if the mother’s health is in danger or it’s determined the unborn baby is unlikely to survive.
The legislation also removes a prohibition on abortions past 20 weeks, a ban that has not been enforced because of concerns about defending it in court.
Pro-life advocates say the new law opens the door to late-term abortions because viability is not clearly defined, nor who gets to determine it.
“While 20 other states have passed reasonable limits on abortion after five months in the last several years, Delaware is headed backwards,” said Ellen Barrosse, RNC National Committeewoman and Delaware pro-life leader, in the June 6 news release. “This bill would open the floodgates to Gosnell-style ‘houses of horrors’ abortion clinics in Delaware. The abortion lobby claims this bill will ensure abortion is a decision made between a woman and her doctor but Delaware women know the truth: for too long have women in this state suffered at the hands of unscrupulous abortionists.”
Kermit Gosnell was an abortionist whose murderous crimes carried out in a dingy Philadelphia clinic shocked many.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed legislation in May banning abortion after 20 weeks if a doctor determines the unborn baby is viable. President Trump has promised to sign federal legislation banning abortion after 20 weeks if Congress approves it.