Delaware gave pro-abortion advocates a rare but big win last week when Gov. John Carney signed a bill making it legal to kill unborn babies through all nine months of pregnancy.
Proponents of the bill drafted it out of fear the Supreme Court might someday overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.
“This is a reaction from the abortion lobby to President Trump winning, and Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation, and the anticipation of President Trump appointing additional Supreme Court justices,” Susan B. Anthony List spokeswoman Mallory Quigley told me.
The pro-life group spent nearly $100,000 to run radio ads and digital campaigns, send mail, and call constituents to encourage opposition to the bill.
While many states, including Delaware, have adopted more protections for unborn babies, the new law does away with all restrictions on abortion—including an existing parental consent law for minors and a 24-hour waiting period—until viability. The law defines viability as a likelihood to survive outside the womb without “extraordinary medical measures” and allows abortion past that point if an abortionist thinks the mother’s life or health is in danger.
Pro-abortion activists applauded the new law. Amanda Allen, a lawyer with the Center for Reproductive Rights, said it “will protect women’s access to critical reproductive health services in the face of threats at the federal level.”
But pro-life leaders see it as a regression to unmitigated abortion practices in the state.
“Delaware is headed backwards. This bill would open the floodgates to Gosnell-style ‘houses of horrors’ abortion clinics in Delaware,” RNC national Committeewoman Ellen Barrosse said in a statement last week, referencing convicted Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell.
Pro-lifers have recently pushed legislation protecting unborn babies after they are thought to feel pain, at about 20 weeks gestation. Tennessee, Ohio, and South Dakota all recently passed 20-week abortion bans. President Donald Trump has vowed to sign federal legislation banning abortion after 20 weeks if Congress approves it.
Meanwhile, other efforts to write abortion rights into state law failed this year in Connecticut and New Mexico. In Illinois, Gov. Bruce Rauner vowed to veto recently passed abortion-codifying legislation.