Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed two pro-life measures into law this week. The first bill bans dismemberment (D&E) abortions, while the second bill extends conscience protections to healthcare workers who want to opt out of participating in abortion procedures. Both bills are slated to take effect July 1. The ACLU has filed a suit against the dismemberment abortion ban.
House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1211, bans dismemberment abortions. Also known as dilation and evacuation abortions, or D&E abortions, dismemberment abortions are the most common type of second-trimester abortion. To commit the brutal procedure, the abortionist must use scissors, forceps, or other tools to tear the baby apart piece by piece as it is ripped from its mother’s womb. Science has shown us that preborn children can feel pain in the womb as early as eight weeks, which makes this procedure especially heinous.
According to the NWI Times, bill sponsor Sen. Liz Brown, called dismemberment abortion “particularly barbaric” because doctors must use a clamp “to reach into the woman’s uterus and snap off the limbs of the baby so those body parts can be easily removed.”
“It is constitutionally appropriate for Hoosiers to decide that it is not necessary to dismember a baby in order to preserve a woman’s constitutional right to privacy,” Brown said.
“Hoosiers spoke up in great numbers against the atrocity of dismemberment abortions this spring,” Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life said in a statement. “Legislators listened, and thanks to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s signature, children will be protected from barbaric dismemberment abortions in Indiana. We thank our pro-life elected officials for their leadership.”
The second bill signed into law, Senate Bill 201, strengthens conscience protections for healthcare workers who want to opt-out of providing abortion-related services. While doctors, hospital employees, and health clinic staffers may already opt out if they so choose, the new legislation extends that privilege to nurses, physicians assistants, or pharmacists who are not already hospital or health clinic employees. The law is a nod to those healthcare workers, like pharmacists, who may become unwilling participants in the rising number of chemical abortions.
Just hours after the governor signed the two pieces of legislation, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the state over the dismemberment abortion ban. “HEA 1211 will discourage women from obtaining abortions and will impose a substantial and unwarranted burden on women’s ability to obtain second-trimester, pre-viability, abortions,” said Ken Falk, legal director at the ACLU of Indiana. “In addition, doctors have an ethical obligation not to subject their patients to potentially harmful procedures that provide no medical benefit. This law would force doctors to do just that.”
Indiana is not the only state to see legal challenges to its abortion laws. Last week a federal judge blocked a similar law banning D&E abortions in Ohio. Mississippi and West Virginia currently have laws prohibiting the procedure, but other states with similar laws are also facing legal holdups, including Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.
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