10 anti-abortion bills reach Statehouse

As 10 anti-abortion bills make their way through the Statehouse this session, women in Indiana stand to lose more reproductive choices than any other state in the nation. Republicans who have waited more than a decade to control both the House and Senate are now writing, sponsoring and supporting legislation that will make it more and more difficult for women to have access to safe, legal abortions.

House Bill 1607: Declares a fetus viable at 20 weeks, the earliest definition of "life" in the United States. The bill opens the door for murder charges to be filed against the death of a fetus after 20 weeks. Additionally, the bill requires the Indiana State Department of Health to license and inspect clinics that perform abortions. If it goes into effect, clinics must apply and receive licensure by March 1 of this year - a deadline the majority of private clinics will not be able to meet. Many will be forced to close while seeking their state license. The license is not required for doctor's offices where abortions are performed. The result will be that those women who have health insurance and can afford private doctors will have access to safe and legal abortions, while those who rely on affordable clinic services may not. This bill passed committee in a 9-3 vote along party lines and will now be brought to a vote on the floor.

Senate Bill 76: Requires abortion providers to provide an ultrasound of the fetus so the mother can hear the heartbeat of a fetus before an abortion, and House Bill 1675 requires abortion providers to inform a woman that anesthesia is available for the fetus during the abortion procedure.

Senate Bill 166: Requires public schools to incorporate fetal development, including the viability of a fetus at 20 weeks, and information about the detrimental health consequences of abortion into their curriculum.

Senate Bill 48: Allows employees, including pharmacists, to refuse to provide or participate in the sale of prescribed birth control or abortion drugs.

House Bill 1755 and Senate Bill 70: Declares it a Class D felony for a pregnant woman to knowingly take a controlled substance while pregnant, even if she did so before she knew she was pregnant. Doctors would be required by law to report any knowledge of pregnant patients who may have done so.

Butler University's feminist student organization Demia and Planned Parenthood of Indiana are partnering to educate and motivate pro-choice activists looking for a means to counter the anti-abortion legislation.

On Saturday, March 5, the groups will host a Live Action Camp designed to train pro-choice grass-roots activists and organizers at Butler University, Pharmacy Building Room 106, from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

The event is free and open to all reproductive rights activists. For more information or to register, contact Sonnet Gabbard at 317-637-4343, ext. 1147 or Sonnet.gabbard@ppin.org.

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