At midnight on New Year’s Day 2014, the United States became a far more just and righteous nation as more than 40,000 new laws and regulations went into force.  According to Jake Tapper of CNN, some of the important new laws prohibit Illinois teens from using tanning beds without a doctor’s note.  In Delaware, shark fin buffets will disappear as it is now illegal to own, sell, or distribute that delicacy.  And in California, new laws let students take part in school sports or use bathrooms based on their subjective gender identity, notwithstanding the gender shown on their birth certificates.  And we can never forget the travesty of legalized marijuana in Colorado, or the beginning of the national social disaster of Obamacare.  This is quite a contrast to the teachings of Isaiah 33:22.

However, for those of us who are pro-life, we can rejoice that 22 states enacted 70 new laws to restrict abortions during 2013, with a number of provisions taking effect on January 1st.  According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, this is the second-highest number of new laws restricting abortion since the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade allowing unrestricted abortion.  (During 2011, 92 abortion restrictions were enacted by the states.)  Many of the new restrictions involve banning abortions after a certain time in pregnancy (typically 20 weeks following fertilization), prohibiting abortions when the baby’s heartbeat is detected (as early as six weeks post-fertilization), setting new medical facility safety regulations for abortion mills, and limiting abortion coverage in health insurance.  Several of these state laws are currently enjoined by court order pending litigation.

In the Guttmacher study on 2013 state policies, it reported that 56 percent of women now live in 27 states that are “hostile” to abortion.  Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, our nation’s largest abortion provider, recently stated:

The historic rise of these attacks on women’s health can be traced back to 2010, when out-of-touch Tea Party politicians picked up key seats in legislatures across the country, promising to create jobs and boost our economy — but immediately focused on ending access to safe and legal abortion and limiting women’s health care options.  The majority of Americans, regardless of political party, believe that a woman should be able to make personal medical decisions without political interference — that is why politicians had to employ every underhanded trick in the book to get these laws passed, sometimes quite literally in the dark of night.

(Emphasis added.)  California went against the national tide as its lawmakers passed AB 154, which allows nurses, midwives, and physician assistants to perform abortions during the first trimester either by drugs or aspiration.  (Aspiration abortions refer to procedures in which the unborn baby is torn apart, and then sucked out of the uterus by a vacuum-cleaner type device.)  Planned Parenthood supported enactment of AB 154 (as it cuts personnel costs, thereby increasing its profitability), whereas pro-life groups opposed enactment fearing that it puts women’s lives at greater risk.

As a result of these new rules, one pro-life group, Operation Rescue, estimated that 87 facilities performing abortions “halted operations” during 2013.  Texas closed eleven abortion facilities after its legislature enacted legislation that simply required abortionists to maintain local hospital privileges in case of a medical emergency.  Further, new abortion clinic safety rules led to additional closures in Pennsylvania and Maryland.  According to Guttmacher, 13 states are supportive of pro-abortion “rights“: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.  Another 10 are “middle-ground,” having enacted a number of abortion restrictions: Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Wyoming, and Illinois (President Obama’s home state, though it is still much easier for a teen to get an abortion there than a deep tan).  The other 27 states are deemed to be “hostile” to abortions.

So, I thought that I would share that at the beginning of 2014, there is some good news for women and babies in some parts of our United States.  Let us remember David’s teaching in Psalm 139: 13-16 that each of us is fearfully and wonderfully made by God, and knit together in our mother’s womb.  Let us also continue to pray that the evil scourge of abortion be removed from our land, and to remember in prayer those mothers who choose to abort their babies that they will repent and turn to our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.