Indiana Pro-Life Group Blames Senate Leader for Holding Up Abortion Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 6, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Indiana Pro-Life Group Blames Senate Leader for Holding Up Abortion Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 6, 2006

Indianapolis, IN ( — The state pro-life group in Indiana is blaming the Republican leader of the state Senate for preventing a vote on an abortion bill and essentially killing the legislation for the session. Indiana Right to Life says Senate President Pro Tem Robert Garton refused to allow a floor vote on the bill before a key legislative deadline.

Indiana Right to Life said a measure to tell women considering an abortion that life begins at conception and an unborn baby feels intense pain during the abortion needed a Senate vote before March 14 or would die. Garton, the longtime GOP leader in the Senate, would not bring it up.

“Since the end of the session much finger-pointing has occurred to try to shift the blame for the defeat of this legislation, but the buck stops with Senator Garton,” Mike Fichter, chairman of the Indiana Right to Life PAC, told the Associated Press.

As a result of Garton’s actions, the pro-life group plans to endorse pro-life Columbus accountant Greg Walker, who is challenging the lawmaker in the Republican primary.

Garton told the Associated Press that the Senate had a long list of bills to consider in a short period of time before the deadline. He said the abortion bill was on the list but legislators ran out of time for more debate and votes on it and other measures.

Senate Democrats have been partially blamed for holding up the abortion bill, and others, because they caused a Senate recess during the last evening of voting by privately caucusing.

Still, Fichter said Garton should have made the abortion bill a priority and held a debate and vote ahead of other measures.

Instead, Fichter told AP that Garton "went out of his way to placate a group of over one dozen moderates in the Republican Senate caucus to do everything within their power to kill this legislation."

The state House previously approved the measure on a bipartisan 75 to 23 vote and Republican Senator Jeff Drozda, who sponsored it in the Senate, indicated he would try again next year.

Before heading to the Senate floor, the Senate Health and Provider Services Committee weakened the bill by removing provisions telling them that life begins at conception. It also removed the fetal pain provision originally on the measure in the House.

Had the Senate voted on the bill, all that remained of it was language telling women considering abortions that adoption is a possibility and a long list of couples throughout the state are waiting to adopt babies from unplanned pregnancies.

The House would have had to agree to the changes or they could have been restored on the Senate floor.

Republican Sen. Patricia Miller, who says she is pro-life and is the chairman of the committee and she claimed the changes were necessary because of conflicting medical testimony during hearings on the bill.

At the time, Maureen Leyden, also of Indiana Right to Life, said the pro-life group would try to restore the original provisions to the bill.

Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, said the abortion business still opposed the bill but she was glad it had been weakened.

Prior to the changes, it required abortion practitioners to tell women considering an abortion at any point in pregnancy that her unborn child may feel pain during the abortion procedure. The information must be given to women at least 18 hours before the abortion so they have time to consider it.

During the committee hearings, representatives of Indiana Right to Life told lawmakers that an unborn child could feel pain as early as seven weeks into pregnancy and pointed out that medical experts say pain is definitely present at 20 weeks into pregnancy.

An April 2004 Zogby poll shows that 77% of Americans back "laws requiring that women who are 20 weeks or more along in their pregnancy be given information about fetal pain before having an abortion."

Only 16 percent disagreed with such a proposal, according to the poll.

Related web sites:
Indiana Right to Life –