Indiana Legislative Panel Tables Fetal Development Education Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 8, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Indiana Legislative Panel Tables Fetal Development Education Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 8, 2004

Indianapolis, IN ( — It didn’t take long for an Indiana state legislative committee to nearly kill a bill that would have educated high school students about fetal development. No sooner than it was proposed did a committee table it.

State Sen. Jeff Drozda (R), formerly the Vice President of Indiana Right to Life, sponsored the legislation that would require high schools to include human fetal development in their health education lesson plans. The course would also include information about the risks and dangers of abortion.

However, abortion advocates worked with the state teacher’s lobby to derail the bill on Wednesday.

Technically, Senate Bill 84 isn’t dead, but it stands little chance of passing now.

"It could die," said Sen. Luke Kenley (R), chairman of the Senate Education and Career Development Committee.

The Indianapolis Star-Tribune reported that Kenley tabled the proposal after hearing public testimony, the majority of it in opposition. He didn’t say whether he would allow the committee to vote on the bill.

Teachers groups joined with pro-abortion organizations in saying the bill would take away the authority of local school boards.

"Abortion supporters came in lock step to oppose teaching kids in public schools about the development of human life in the womb," Mike Fichter, director of Indiana Right to Life, told concerning the hearing. "Their extreme reaction to this bill underscores the fact that they do not support fully informed abortion decisions. The bottom line is that they fear teaching fetal development is bad for business."

Kathleen Baldwin, a Planned Parenthood of Greater Indiana Vice-President, opposed the bill and called it politically motivated.

She said students should instead learn that high school students who have abortions are more likely to finish school than those who have a baby.

Pro-life groups such as Feminists for Life counter that abortion advocates are wrong to pit women against education and say pregnancy resource centers provide significant help than can allow young woman to have a child and finish school too.

Drozda was encouraged by Mark Lantz, a member of the Greentown, Indiana school board, to introduce the bill. During testimony, Lantz said that the bill would educate students and help reduce abortions and teen pregnancy, thus saving the state money.

Lantz said even though other districts include fetal development in biology courses, his school district does not.

Drozda said the bill would help students learn basic embryology. "It’s real important for students to understand the basics," Drozda said.

"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.

Related web sites:
Indiana Right to Life –