Indiana Senate Panel Backs Abortion Bill, Changes Info on Baby’s Pain

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 22, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Indiana Senate Panel Backs Abortion Bill, Changes Info on Baby’s Pain Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 22
, 2007

Indianapolis, IN ( — An Indiana state Senate panel approved an abortion measure on Wednesday that would tell women considering an abortion that human life begins at conception. But the committee removed from the bill language that would say to women that an abortion can cause intense pain for the unborn child.

Under the legislation, abortion practitioners would be required to tell women, that "an embryo formed by the fertilization of a human ovum by a human sperm immediately begins to divide and grow as human physical life."

The bill formerly included language about the baby’s abortion pain, but they changed the information to tell women "there are differing medical opinions concerning when a fetus feels pain" even though experts agree the baby does feel pain.

After the vote, Sen. Patricia Miller, the Republican sponsoring the bill, told the Associated Press that she was unsure whether the bill would come up as amended on the Senate floor. She indicated she was working with critics of the bill to come up with a compromise.

Sen. Vi Simpson, a Bloomington Democrat and abortion advocate, worried the bill would apply to birth control that works to prevent the baby from implanting in the womb and the committee amended the bill to say that wasn’t covered under it.

Groups on both sides of the abortion debate take different approaches to the bill with Indiana Right of Life supporting it and Planned Parenthood of Indiana opposed.

During the hearing on the bill, opponents 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.

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 –