Indiana Legislature Holds Hearing on Abortion Pain, Info Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 15, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Indiana Legislature Holds Hearing on Abortion Pain, Info Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 15
, 2007

Indianapolis, IN ( — The Indiana state legislature held a committee hearing on Wednesday on a bill that would tell women about the pain their babies would feel during an abortion and would also provide them with information about abortion and abortion risks 18 hours beforehand.

The bill also requires abortion practitioners to tell women that human life begins at the moment of conception — a point which drew considerable debate.

Opponents of the bill such as Rev. Michael D. Mather of Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis and David Sklar, an intern at the Jewish Community Relations Council, said their religious groups don’t agree with that scientific statement.

A Senate committee held a hearing on the legislation, sponsored by longtime pro-life state Sen. Pat Miller, a Republican, but didn’t hold a vote. She told AP she expected a vote on the measure likely next week.

Sen. Vi Simpson, a pro-abortion Democrat, said she opposed the bill as well and proposed weakening amendments to it that would tell women there is wide disagreement about when life begins and that childbirth also has risks.

But Dick Thompson of Indiana Right to Life said the pro-life group opposed those amendments.

"The difference between live birth and abortion is that abortion is terminal," he told AP.

Meanwhile, the committee also voted on another Miller bill that would require abortion practitioners to have admitting privileges at a local hospital in case of a botched abortion. The panel split 5-5 on that bill and Miller said it would likely come up for another vote next week.

Michael McKillip, of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, said the bill would "substantially limit access" to abortion and may cause some abortion practitioners to have to stop doing abortions if they don’t get the privileges.

The fetal pain and conception bills were introduced during the last session, but 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.

If the measure becomes law, Indiana would join Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota and Oklahoma in informing women about the pain their baby would feel during an abortion — something pro-life advocates hope will help reduce the number of abortions.

Mike Fichter, executive director of Indiana Right to Life, said his group backs providing women with the information.

"I think there’s universal agreement that an abortion decision is a life-changing decision for the woman and unborn child," Fichter said previously. "The information about life beginning at conception and the ability for an unborn child to feel pain are key components that every woman should be informed about when making this decision."

Fichter also said he didn’t think there would be as much of a problem with the bills getting a vote this time because the current Senate president, David Long of Ft. Wayne, is more in line with the group’s thinking than Garton.

"We are encouraged because we know that President Pro Tempore Long is strongly pro-life," Fichter said.

Yet, there could a problem in the House if the new Democratic leadership doesn’t allow a vote on the bill as the Republicans did before they took over the chamber after the November elections.

Miller said she planned to meet with House Speaker Pat Bauer, a pro-life Democrat from South Bend.

Related web sites:
Indiana Right to Life –