Indiana “fetal abnormalities” abortion bill moves toward passage

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News from Indiana

By a 37-13 vote, the Indiana Senate passed a bill March 1 that would ban abortions if done on the basis of “a diagnosis or potential diagnosis of the fetus having Down Syndrome or any other disability,” or the fetus’ gender, race, color, national origin or ancestry.

The bill’s proponents frame the measure as an anti-disability discrimination protection, highlighting additional provisions requiring doctors to provide information about perinatal hospice care to women considering aborting a fetus with disabilities.

“This is what we call the soft bigotry of low expectations,” Sen. Liz Brown (R- 13 District) told Indiana Public Media last month. “That those whose lives we think don’t have the value or have the worth that we do sitting here in the chamber today should not be born.”

The only state to enact similar legislation is North Dakota, which did so in 2013 as part of a larger set of abortion restrictions. Other states have proposed similar measures.

The bill’s opponents argue the bill is overly broad and a front for further restricting abortion rights in the state.

“Every fetus has a potential diagnosis of disability,” Sen. Mark Stoops (D) told the Indianapolis Star.

The Senate first passed a version of the bill February 3. However, the state General Assembly refused to hold a hearing on the bill, prompting the Senate to attach it to another abortion-related measure, relating to the disposals of aborted fetuses, according to Indiana Public Media. If passed by the House, Gov. Mike Pence would almost undoubtedly signed the bill.

As written, the measure directly violates Supreme Court precedent, which allows states to impose significant restrictions, but nonetheless prohibits them from banning abortions prior to viability.

A video about the bill, from FOX 59, can be seen here.

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