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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - "Proposed abortion ban for gender, fetal disability advances"

Chelsea Schneider has the story here today in the Indianapolis Star. The story begins:

A group of Republican lawmakers are reprising an effort to ban abortions in the state based on gender or disabilities in a fetus, a controversial and possibly unconstitutional prohibition that failed last year in the Indiana General Assembly.

The proposal would ban abortions if the reason for seeking one is “solely” because of the sex of a fetus. The ban also would apply to women seeking an abortion if her fetus is diagnosed, or potentially diagnosed, with Down syndrome or another genetically-inherited disability.

The bill, which cleared a Senate committee Wednesday, would add to the state’s abortion restrictions, which already are among the most stringent in the country. State law currently restricts most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The bill, by state Sens. Travis Holdman and Liz Brown, is moving forward, while another measure that would restrict abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected has stalled.

Brown, a Fort Wayne Republican, is running in a heated Republican primary for Indiana’s Third Congressional District. Her campaign sent an email to supporters celebrating the passage of Senate Bill 313 after it cleared committee by a 7-4 vote.

Brown said the bill is needed, because doctors are “pressuring women to have these abortions.”

More from the story:
However, Sen. Vaneta Becker said the bill is “clearly unconstitutional.”

Becker, an Evansville Republican, noted the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to consider overruling lower court decisions that found abortion restrictions early in a pregnancy were unconstitutional. That includes a case in North Dakota where a lower court ruled an abortion ban after a fetal heartbeat is detected — as early as six weeks in pregnancy — was unconstitutional.

Doing so means the Supreme Court has effectively upheld Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion in the country, Becker said. States face restrictions in banning abortions before a fetus could survive outside the womb.

Banning abortions based on gender and disability sets a “dangerous precedent,” Becker said.

“This bill does nothing to improve or protect women’s health,” Becker said. “This bill is just clearly a bill designed with a broader agenda … to shame and judge women.”

The Supreme Court refused to take up the case from North Dakota, and a separate 12-week ban out of Arkansas, presumably because “neither law would be able to withstand constitutional scrutiny,” said Elizabeth Nash with the Guttmacher Institute. The organization is a sexual and reproductive health advocacy group.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 28, 2016 02:21 PM
Posted to Indiana Government