Abortion Activists Attack Bill Making Indiana 2nd to Ban Abortions on Babies With Down Syndrome

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 14, 2016   |   12:42PM   |   Indianapolis, IN

Over the weekend, pro-abortion media groups launched a vicious attack against an Indiana bill that would protect unborn babies with genetic disorders like Down syndrome from being aborted.

The Indiana House gave final approval to House Bill 1337 on Wednesday in a 60-40 vote, sending it to the desk of pro-life Gov. Mike Pence, LifeNews reported.

The bill would ban abortion doctors from knowingly aborting an unborn baby solely because of a genetic disorder such as Down syndrome, race or sex. Doctors caught aborting unborn babies for these reasons could be sued for wrongful death.

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

Pro-abortion websites bashed the bill as “outrageous” and “extreme” in its scope. Think Progress went so far as to claim that pro-lifers are trying to “drive an offensive wedge” between pro-abortion groups and the disability rights community. Arguably, it’s the pro-abortion groups that are driving the wedge by advocating against protections for unborn babies with disabilities.

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The pro-abortion reporters latched on to a small group of Republicans who opposed the regulations. A few Republicans who say they are pro-life opposed the bill because they said they disagreed with how the voting process was handled, according to The Journal Gazette. Because of a procedural move involving a separate Senate bill with very similar language, the House did not have a committee hearing or full debate on HB 1337 prior to the final vote on Wednesday, the report states.

Think Progress claimed the bill was “so extreme even Republicans don’t like it”:

“The bill does nothing to save innocent lives. There’s no education, there’s no funding. It’s just penalties,” Rep. Sharon Negele, a Republican who has sponsored anti-abortion legislation in the past, said this week at a hearing regarding HB 1337.

Another Republican lawmaker, Rep. Sean Eberhart, said he decided to vote against the bill after discussing it with his wife. He said she didn’t agree with the legislation even though she’s “as pro-life as they come.”

“Today is a perfect example a bunch of middle-aged guys sitting in this room making decisions about what we think is best for women,” Eberhart said. “We need to quit pretending we know what’s best for women and their health care needs.”

Several Republicans in the legislature also took issue with the way HB 1337 advanced. According to the Associated Press, Republican leaders in the House used a procedural measure to rush a vote on an updated version of the bill without giving lawmakers additional time to make changes.

“I feel this is government overreaching,” GOP Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer said in protest. “It’s bills like these that make people like me really hate the system,” GOP Rep. Wendy McNamara agreed.

The Daily Beast writer Samantha Allen also appeared to be upset by a new privacy provision in the bill:

And it will also ban women from receiving state-mandated pre-abortion counseling as a “group,” mandating that it be done in “private” instead. During these counseling sessions, the state already requires providers to tell women that “human physical life begins when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm.”

With abortion activists’ characterization of abortion being a private women’s decision, it seems odd that Allen would not support such a measure.

Despite abortion activists’ attempts to paint the bill as controversial, a majority of Indiana legislators in both houses approved the bill.

On Wednesday during the House debate, state Rep. Casey Cox, R-Fort Wayne, said the bill will give the most vulnerable a chance at life.

“Ours is a policy that values life no matter who you are, where you come from or what your disability might be,” Cox said.

According to the local news report, Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma made an unexpected move when he also voted in support of the bill. Bosma reportedly does not often vote on bills; however, in this case, the Republican legislator said he wants to “protect the rights of the unborn.”

On Wednesday, Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter praised the pro-life legislators for passing the bill.

“We are truly thankful for the passage of this historic legislation by the Indiana House and applaud the new civil rights protections this bill creates for unborn children, as well as the new provisions this bill establishes for the humane final disposition of aborted babies,” Fichter said. “The House leadership listened to our concerns and the concerns of pro-life Hoosiers across Indiana and made it a priority to concur on this bill before tomorrow’s end of the session.

“We look forward to Governor Pence signing this bill into law and establishing a new respect for unborn human life in Indiana,” Fichter continued.

In 2013, North Dakota became the first state to pass a similar bill to protect unborn babies from abortions because of disabilities. A handful of states also ban abortions based solely on the baby’s sex.