Hundreds of abortion activists gathered at the Indiana state capital on Saturday to protest a law that protects unborn babies with disabilities like Down syndrome.
The new law, signed by Gov. Mike Pence in March, is the second in the nation to ban abortions because of a genetic disability such as Down syndrome. It also bans abortions based solely on the unborn baby’s race or sex. The law includes several other abortion-related measures, such as 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.
Despite strong support in the legislature and among the general public, the law and its supporters have faced a heavy backlash from abortion activists. The pro-abortion rally on Saturday in front of the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis drew national media attention, as did a juvenile campaign called “Periods for Pence” that encouraged women to call the governor’s office to talk about their menstrual cycles.
According to the Associated Press, hundreds of abortion supporters gathered for the rally, holding signs that read “Fire Mike Pence” and “Stop This Pencestrual Cycle.” Pro-abortion leaders blasted the 97 state legislators who voted in favor of the protective law, and a woman talked about aborting her unborn baby after discovering the child had a potentially fatal brain disorder, the Indiana Daily Student reports.
After the rally, the student newspaper described the state lawn as “littered with evidence” of the abortion activists’ presence: “Bernie pins, Hillary stickers, ‘Fire Mike Pence’ signs.”
Some pro-lifers held a counter-protest on the statehouse lawn, and Indiana Right to Life held an event at a nearby hotel, highlighting the value of people with disabilities, according to the Indy Star.
Here is more from the report:
Sue Swayze, vice president of public affairs for Indiana Right to Life, said the rally is “a reminder of the hate that’s directed at vulnerable unborn children.” She said opponents of HEA 1337 only think about how it would impact women’s rights, but not “how they’re discriminating against the child.”
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Katie Shaw, a 30-year-old woman born with Down syndrome, sat next to Swayze in a conference room at the hotel. Shaw said aborting a fetus because of a disability is a form of discrimination against someone like her.
“These women at the rally would have aborted me, but I am really against that,” said Shaw, a resident of Indianapolis. “I believe a person is a person no matter how small.”
“From the get-go, my mom chose to keep me,” she said. “And that’s why I love my parents and my mom and my entire family.”
In a statement, Mike Fichter, president and CEO of the pro-life group, said almost 90 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted partly because of the attitude that some lives have more value than others.
“Planned Parenthood is rallying today because it believes in abortion on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy,” Fichter added. “This idea is simply radical to Hoosiers. Planned Parenthood should at least be honest enough to admit it has a vested financial interest in keeping abortion unregulated as evidenced by the $2 million in revenue it makes from abortions each year in Indiana alone.”
He continued: “The media’s wall-to-wall coverage of [Saturday’s] pro-abortion rally plays into Planned Parenthood’s hand. The abortion giant wants media outlets to ignore the majority of Hoosiers who believe abortions targeting the vulnerable are racist, sexist and discriminatory. Just last night nearly one thousand pro-life citizens gathered in Lake County and later this month thousands will attend the nation’s largest pro-life banquet in Evansville, Ind. The full weight of Indiana’s pro-life community is felt every year at the polls and that will be the case again this election.”
Abortion activists failed to convince the general public to oppose the regulations, so now they hope to convince a court. Last week, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky filed a lawsuit to block the law, claiming the restrictions are unconstitutional because they infringe on a woman’s “right” to a first-trimester abortion, according to the Indy Star.
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.