AUL’s Life List 2024: Where every state ranks from most to least pro-life

AUL’s Life List 2024: Where every state ranks from most to least pro-life (yuri tasso/Unsplash)

Americans United for Life is pleased to announce its Life List 2024 state rankings. Congratulations to Arkansas on leading the way this year.

(AUL) This is Arkansas’s fourth year as the most pro-life state in America after the state maintained existing protections for life and enacted an additional 9 life-protecting laws. But Arkansas is facing challenges for the top slot from numerous other states, including Mississippi, South Dakota, and Florida. After being the biggest mover of last year, Florida jumped another 6 spots with the addition of a Heartbeat law. North Carolina was the biggest mover this year, gaining 7 spots by overriding the state governor’s veto to protect life at 12-weeks and requiring true informed consent for chemical abortion. 


Americans United for Life

Overall, in the past year, the states have been very active in considering life-related policy, much for the good, some to the detriment of life. Thanks to the groundwork state legislatures laid to prepare for the fall of Roe and their response thereafter, hundreds of thousands of innocent preborn lives will be saved in the coming years. With the freedom to defend life restored, state lawmakers now pass life-affirming laws with confidence to protect women, preborn children, and families. 

With few exceptions, states that have stood strong for life for decades continue to forge ahead, and their leadership is reflected in the Life List rankings. South Dakota is on track to see a year of zero abortions in the state, while Nebraska and South Carolina added protections at 12 weeks and a detectible heartbeat, respectively.  

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Yet Dobbs raised strong headwinds as well. In November, the people of Ohio passed Issue 1, a ballot initiative that enshrined a “right” to abortion in the state constitution, the consequences of which are yet to be seen. Montana and Wyoming worked to sharpen life-saving legal tools with strong bills affirming the value of human life while addressing lawsuits and judicial rulings. And the outcome of ongoing litigation in Arizona and elsewhere could change the pro-life landscape—and the rankings of the Life List next year. 

Unfortunately, at the bottom of the Life List, states have been outrunning each other to enable the extinguishing of human life, whether by eliminating so-called “protections” around physician-assisted suicide as seen in Oregon and Vermont or by divining new legal methodologies to protect those who kill the unborn from accountability or oversight. Michigan was the largest mover against life, dropping 10 spots after voters approved a “right to abortion” and the Michigan legislature began stripping away protections for the unborn. 

All that being said, however, 2023 was another pro-life year. As of the Life List cutoff date of November 30, at least 59 life-affirming laws have been passed and signed into law. The number of states that are abortion free, or nearly so, continues to grow. 

Tweet This: 2023 was another pro-life year. The number of U.S. states that are abortion free, or nearly so, continues to grow.

Our “Life List” ranking is based on criteria that score the states’ protection of life from conception to natural death. This is sorted into the categories of abortion, legal recognition of preborn children, bioethics (such as destructive human embryo research), assisted suicide and end-of-life patient care, and healthcare rights of conscience. In addition, each state is awarded points for its life-affirming cultural and political landscape and momentum, which measures political outlook and the frequency the state legislature effectuates pro-life laws, respectively. 

For further information on state actions this year, please see AUL’s 2023 Annual State Policy Report.

Editor's note: This article was published by Americans United for Life and is reprinted with permission.

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