Indiana House Democrats Attempt to Sink Bill Limiting Abortion, Protecting Women
by Steven Ertelt
April 28, 2009
Indianapolis, IN (LifeNews.com) — Democrats in the Indiana state House are facing accusations that they are purposefully trying to defeat a bill that would require abortion practitioners to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The legislation is an attempt to limit abortions and protect women from cases when botched abortions hurt them.
Sen. Patricia Miller, a Republican who filed the bill in the Senate, wants the bill because it is needed when an abortion goes horribly wrong and the abortion practitioner puts the life of the mother in jeopardy.
When she needs medical help, Miller says the woman needs to be able to be easily admitted to a local hospital, but that process is compromised if the abortion practitioner doesn’t have admitting privileges.
The measure received Senate approval and was passed in the state House, though the wording was changed to add $23 million in taxpayer money to provide free breast- and cervical-cancer screenings for uninsured women. Because of the changes, it went to a conference committee.
Although pro-life advocates don’t oppose the screenings, Miller and other bill sponsors, including Sen. Dennis Kruse, worry that the additional spending, during a time of economic trouble, will doom the bill.
Kruse told the Indianapolis Star that he worries the fiscal concerns of members of the Senate will outweigh the need for the abortion limitation bill and will result in the Senate defeating the conference measure and killing the bill.
He argues House Democrats purposefully included the screenings provision not because they want it but because they are more interested in defeating the bill.
"It appears the House majority party intended to put an amendment in that would actually help defeat the bill, and I think they succeeded in doing that," he said. "We’re probably at a deadlock. If they don’t want to give, then there’s no deal."
Rep. Scott Pelath, a Democrat, disagrees and says he and other House Democrats are concerned about women’s health.
Even if the legislature approves the conference bill and sends it to Gov. Mitch Daniels, there is concern that Daniels will veto it because of the spending that the state may not be able to afford.
Jane Jankowski, Daniels’ press secretary, would not tell the Star whether Daniels would veto the pro-life bill over the additional spending.
Sue Swayze, the legislative representative for Indiana Right to Life, agreed with Kruse that the House Democrats are playing games with the pro-life bill.
"I think it is disappointing that this bill, which started out simply as a follow-up care enhancement for women who have had abortions, turned into a ($23 million) health-care problem," she told the newspaper.
"I think the House Democrats knew exactly what they were doing when they put that poison pill amendment in there to make the Senate Republicans either swallow the money or send it to the governor and make it his problem."
Betty Cockrum, president of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, has said her group opposes the bill to help women who are injured by abortions.
Legislators have until the end of the day on Wednesday to agree to the conference measure or it will die this legislative session.
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