In Delaware, lawmakers’ vote to pass a bill that would strike down almost all remaining abortion restrictions drew strong criticism from pro-life advocates, who warned it would provide safe harbor for Kermit Gosnell-style abortionists.
“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," charged Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.
Under Delaware’s current law, which was rendered inactive by federal laws and court decisions, abortion is allowed only in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, if there is a substantial risk the unborn child would be born with serious disabilities, or if the child was conceived in rape or incest, the Associated Press reports.
Current law also bars abortion after 20 weeks into pregnancy. It requires parental consent for girls under 18, and written consent and a 24-hour waiting period for a woman seeking abortion. Women seeking abortion must also receive a full explanation of fetal development, the abortion procedure and its effects, and reasonable alternatives to abortion.
These measures are stripped under the bill. Instead, the bill would allow abortion without restriction before viability, and would allow abortion after viability if a doctor determines it is necessary to protect a woman’s life or health, or that the baby is not likely to survive without extraordinary measures.
The Susan B. Anthony List and other critics charged that the bill would make abortion legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy.
The bill passed the Senate by one vote in May. It passed the House June 6 by a vote of 22-16.
Democratic Gov. John Carney will sign the bill, a spokesman said.
Ellen Barrosse, a pro-life leader in Delaware and a Republican National Committeewoman, invoked the crimes of Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortionist convicted of murdering three infants who had survived abortion at a legal abortion clinic that went without a health inspection for 17 years. Gosnell would also work in Delaware, but did not face legal charges there.
“This bill would open the floodgates to Gosnell-style ‘houses of horrors’ abortion clinics in Delaware," Barrosse said.
She charged that Delaware women have “suffered at the hands of unscrupulous abortionists."
The Susan B. Anthony List cited other abortionists who have faced disciplinary action in the state as well as a 2013 report from ABC Philadelphia that two nurses at the Planned Parenthood of Delaware abortion clinic quit their jobs and alleged unsafe, unsanitary conditions and “a meat-market style of assembly-line abortions" at the facility.
Barrosse cited a trend favoring abortion restrictions in 20 U.S. states, saying: “Delaware is headed backwards."
Dannenfelser, who chaired the Donald Trump presidential campaign’s pro-life coalition and its Catholic advisory board, contended that abortion advocates are “running scared" given the presence of “a pro-life president in the White House and already one pro-life [Supreme Court] justice nominated and confirmed."
On June 6, the Susan B. Anthony List announced details of a nearly six-figure campaign to urge legislators in the Delaware House of Representatives to oppose the bill, which passed the House the same day. The campaign included a radio ad, digital campaign, direct mail, constituent phone calls, and a rally.