Indiana Senate Committee Passes Bill to Ban Abortions Based on Down Syndrome

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 26, 2016   |   12:24AM   |   Indianapolis, IN

Indiana Senate lawmakers passed a bill out of committee Wednesday that would protect unborn babies with genetic abnormalities like Down syndrome from being aborted.

The ban on abortions based on genetic abnormalities or gender was added as an amendment to Indiana House Bill 1337 in committee Wednesday, the Indy Star reports. A similar Senate bill (SB 313) to ban these discriminatory abortions was approved earlier this year but stalled in the state House this week, according to the report.

The amended House Bill 1337 would ban abortion doctors from knowingly aborting an unborn baby solely because of a genetic disability such as Down syndrome or because of gender, according to the report.

State Sen. Travis Holdman, who co-authored SB313, said the new measure would basically make it “a criminal act” for an abortion doctor to knowingly end an unborn child’s life because of discrimination against gender or disability.

Indiana state Sen. Liz Brown, who worked with Holdman on the measure, said previously that many families say they face pressure to abort from doctors or other health care professionals when their babies are diagnosed with an illness or disability in the womb. LifeNews has documented numerous cases of families saying the same thing.

“What we hear from doctors is — it would really be better off if you were not born,” Brown said. “If you are born, we will love you, and we think you have equal rights and should be a member of society. In fact, we have the Americans with Disabilities Act and have to make accommodations. But we don’t want to make the accommodation before you’re born, and in fact, it would really be easier if you were not born.”



Along with the amendment, Indiana HB 1337 has several other abortion-related measures, including a requirement that aborted or miscarried babies’ bodies be cremated or buried and another requirement that abortionists who have hospital admitting privileges renew them annually, according to the report.

The burial/cremation requirement backs up a law passed in 2015 by Gov. Mike Pence requiring that aborted babies’ bodies be disposed of in a humane way.

Mike Fichter, president and CEO of Indiana Right to Life, told LifeNews, the new bill will give the state Department of Health “clearer direction by requiring cremation or burial” of aborted babies’ bodies.

At least one pro-abortion lawmaker spoke up against the bill Wednesday. Indiana state Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, said, “This should be a decision of a family in conjunction with their religious beliefs as well as their physicians and the Legislature ought to get out of it.”

The state Senate Health and Provider Services Committee approved the bill in a 6-3 vote, the report states. The bill moves to the full state Senate for a vote.