Health

Indiana Bans Abortion Of A Fetus With Down Syndrome

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Indiana Gov. Mike PenceIndiana Gov. Mike Pence

A new law in Indiana will ban the abortion of a fetus that has been diagnosed with a defect or disability, such as Down syndrome.

The bill was signed into law by Republican Gov. Mike Pence on March 24, two weeks after it was approved by the Indiana Legislature and just hours ahead of its deadline, the Associated Press reports.

Pence referred to the bill as “a comprehensive pro-life measure that affirms the value of all human life.”

The bill bans abortions due to fetal abnormalities, while also prohibiting abortions because of a fetus’ race, sex or ancestry.

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An aborted fetus will have to be disposed of through burial or cremation, instead of being treated like medical waste.

“I believe that a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable — the aged, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn,” Pence said in a statement.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky plans to ask a court to block the legislation before it goes into effect in July.

“It is clear that the governor is more comfortable practicing medicine without a license than behaving as a responsible lawyer, as he picks and chooses which constitutional rights are appropriate,” Betty Cockrum, the organization’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

A national group of gynecologists and multiple female Republican members of Indiana’s GOP-dominated Legislature think the law goes too far in controlling a woman’s rights. They tried to stop Pence from signing the bill into law, but were unsuccessful.

“We know that you’re going to be forcing woman and families to suffer emotionally because they’re going to be force to carry pregnancies that are not viable,” Kate Connors, director of communications for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said. “We’ve been hoping that the resounding chorus of voices would hit home. It obviously did not.”

Indiana is the second state to ban abortions due to fetal defects. North Dakota passed similar legislation in 2013, defining a genetic abnormality as “any defect, disease, or disorder that is inherited genetically," according to Legislative Tracker. "The term includes any physical disfigurement, scoliosis, dwarfism, Down syndrome, albinism, amelia, or any other type of physical or mental disability, abnormality, or disease."

Sources: AP via The Washington Post, Legislative Tracker / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Does this abortion law go too far?
Yes - 67%
Yes - 33%