Indiana Bills Would Educate Women About Fetal Development
by Steven Ertelt
January 6, 2004
Indianapolis, IN (LifeNews.com) — An Indiana state senator has sponsored legislation that would require abortion facilities to provide women considering abortion with fetal development information that they normally don’t provide.
Under the bill, women would be told they can see an ultrasound of their unborn child or listen to her heartbeat if they wish.
Women who visit crisis pregnancy centers almost always decide against having an abortion after viewing an ultrasound and pro-life advocates hope the same will happen at abortion facilities.
As expected, abortion advocates oppose the bill. Planned Parenthood of Central Indiana said the legislation is a backdoor attempt to "intimidate" women into not having abortions.
Betty Cockrum, president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Indianapolis, claims her organization already performs ultrasounds prior to abortions.
State Sen. Mike Young supports the bill and said women have the right to be fully informed before ending a pregnancy.
"It’s an attempt to make sure that women, when they make one of the most important decisions in their lives, have the most information possible to make the best decision for the child," Young told the Daily Journal newspaper.
Young said the bill isn’t intimidation because women have the option of declining the information.
Under the bill, abortion facilities must tell women they have an option of receiving the fetal development information at least 18 hours before the abortion.
Young filed similar legislation last year that was approved in the state Senate but died in a House committee.
Meanwhile, state Sen. Jeff Drozda (R), formerly the Vice President of Indiana Right to Life, has filed legislation that would require high schools to include human fetal development in their health education lesson plans.
Pro-life groups strongly support the legislation.
"Senator Drozda is to be commended for introducing common sense legislation that guarantees every public school student will get the facts about fetal development," Mike Fichter, director of Indiana Right to Life, told LifeNews.com.
"Every parent, teacher, and legislator should support this bill, even those who call themselves ‘pro-choice’. After all, informed abortion decisions are impossible if we continue to shield students from the scientific facts about life in the womb," Fichter added.
While the legislative battle begins, both sides are waiting for an Indiana Court of Appeals to decide the constitutionality of an informed consent law passed in 1995 that requires abortion facilities to give women information about abortion risks and alternatives prior to an abortion.
The law has been enjoined while the pro-abortion lawsuit against it proceeds.