Indiana bans abortions based on prenatal diagnosis of disabilities

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Planned Parenthood faces criticism for a program that provides tissue from aborted fetuses for medical research. RNS photo courtesy Shutterstock.com.

(Reuters) Governor Mike Pence signed a bill into law making Indiana only the second state to prohibit abortions based on a prenatal diagnosis of disabilities such as Down syndrome.

The bill, which was approved by the state Republican-led legislature, bans any disability-related abortion along with terminations of pregnancy based on race, gender or national origin.

“I believe that a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable – the aged, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn,” Pence, a Republican, said in a statement after he signed the legislation on Thursday (March 24).

Republicans ushered the bill through the state legislature over the last three months despite opposition from some conservative lawmakers, including Representative Cindy Kirchhofer, who felt the measure was too restrictive.

“I feel this is government overreaching,” Kirchhofer told the Indianapolis Star newspaper, adding that she did not have enough time to properly vet the bill with her constituents.

North Dakota is the only U.S. state that prohibits abortions based on fetal anomalies. Seven states ban those based on gender, and Arizona prohibits those based on race, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an organization that tracks abortion laws.

A petition circulating on Moveon.org that hoped to persuade Pence to veto the bill had more than 5,600 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.

The legislation adds “shame, stigma and barriers at a time when the most critical need is medically accurate information and compassionate care,” it said.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien)

  • yoh

    Seriously the anti abortion view is best considered a character flaw. The level of indifference, arrogance and ignorance necessary to support it goes beyond a simple religious or political point of view? It takes a supreme level of narcissism to claim that you have a right to speak for all women in matters which amount to entirely NOYFB.

    At this point the state US simply encouraging abortion tourism. There is no possible rational goal is met by this bill?

  • Junebug

    Freedom of conscience defeated again by the very people who advocate individual freedom and small government.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Government so small it can fit inside a uterus.

  • G Key

    Picking my jaw up off the floor…

    So Indiana is mandating unique “protection” (i.e., man-handling the woman’s right to abortion) exclusively for those fetuses which are guaranteed to demand the highest levels of physical, emotional, & financial resources from the mother/parents (and, BTW, the state)?

    “I believe that a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable – the aged, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn.”

    Listen to the moralizer’s morality: Is It Angst, or Is It Schadenfreude?

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  • yoh

    Why do I think every medical professional organization in the State probably opposed this law? After all, the only way this law can be enforced is by the state government violating privacy rights for medical records and attacking doctors.

    I guess Mike Pence and other conservative (insert expletive of choice impugning one’s intelligence here)’s are such qualified experts of women’s health issues that they think they have a right to make all decisions for them. Seriously, eff them and the horses they rode in on.

    Thankfully Planned Parenthood has already started suing the state on this.

    I cannot consider anyone who supports this law to be remotely intelligent or sane.

  • G Key

    Glad to hear about Planned Parenthood’s suit. I just hope the courts (including those hearing all the appeals up to SCOTUS) will agree.

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