The Americans United for Life all-star list has come out -- and Louisiana is on top once again.
While The Pelican State barely breaks the top 10 for any rankings in education, healthcare, or preventing violence, it did earn the top spot on the AUL annual list for the fifth year in a row, followed by Oklahoma, Arkansas, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. Also reprising its role as #1 was Washington, reported as the top worst state for "failing to protect women from an unmonitored and under-regulated abortion industry." California, Vermont, New York, and Connecticut rounded out the least-protective top 5. The AUL report card is done on a points system, with higher points earned for abortion clinic regulations (7 pts), legal recognition of unborn and newly-born (10 pts), and limitations of state funding (9 pts), among others.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal championed several pieces of pro-life legislation in 2013, adding to Louisiana's list of already restrictive laws on the subject. In June he signed bills that lengthened the wait period between mandatory ultrasound and the abortion procedure to twenty-four hours, required that abortion providers to offer to let women hear the fetus' heartbeat, and banned abortions after 20-weeks. These restrictions are but new additions to an already prohibitive set of laws in the state.
The governor was proud of his state's efforts -- as well as the AUL's recognition of them. “Defending innocent human life is a core responsibility of any civilized society, and I’m proud that Louisiana has been recognized for its efforts to protect the weakest and most vulnerable among us who cannot protect themselves," Jindal said in January of 2013 after the AUL ranked them in the top spot for 2012.
But Louisiana wasn't alone in proposing and following through on an aggressive and restrictive agenda against women's rights. A year in policy review by the Guttmacher Institute showed that over the course of 2013 "39 states enacted 141 provisions related to reproductive health." Of these provisions, half (70 in 22 states) restricted women's access to abortion. Guttmacher points out that restrictions are on the rise, especially when compared to preceding years. Their review states: "205 abortion restrictions were enacted over the past three years (2011-2013), but just 189 were enacted during the entire previous decade (2001-2010)."
Enjoy your time on top, Louisiana. Your legislative work this year definitely earned it.