Indiana House legislators voted January 25 to advance a bill that would make it a felony to coerce a woman into an abortion. House Bill 1217 also requires that any woman receiving an abortion be informed that coerced abortions are illegal. If an abortion worker believes that a woman is being coerced, that worker is to offer the woman the use of a telephone and an alternate exit from the facility.
The text of the bill states:
Requires that a pregnant woman seeking an abortion must be informed that a coerced abortion is illegal. Provides that certain medical personnel must inquire with a pregnant woman seeking an abortion whether the abortion is coerced. Requires certain medical personnel who believe that an abortion is coerced to offer the pregnant woman information on certain services, the use of a telephone, and an alternative exit from the health care facility.
Makes it a Level 6 felony if a person knowingly or intentionally coerces a pregnant woman into having an abortion. Mandates reports of a coerced abortion to law enforcement. Makes it a Class C infraction if a reproductive health facility knowingly employs a mandatory reporter who violates the mandatory reporting statute.
Coerced abortion is a real problem. Studies have shown that 64% of women felt pressure to abort, and 67% of post-abortive women said that they received no counseling before receiving an abortion. Live Action News has reported many stories of women who have said they aborted their children due to coercion. These heartbreaking stories are just a sampling of the countless others that have been left untold.
While the bill’s only focus is to protect women and girls to ensure that they are making the choice to abort of their own free will, Planned Parenthood has been outspoken in its opposition to the legislation, saying that coercion to abort isn’t a major problem. instead, the abortion corporation claims that coercion to get pregnant and carry the pregnancy to term is a bigger issue.
Lisa Humes-Schulz, vice president of policy and regulatory affairs for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, spoke on the legislation in a statement to WBIW:
Let’s be clear: HB 1217 puts people in Indiana in more danger, not less. HB 1217 has nothing to do with protecting pregnant people from coercion and everything to do with endangering patient safety and access to time-sensitive essential care.
Unfortunately, we know reproductive coercion occurs in many forms. The most common form is actually when partners force people to become pregnant or to carry a pregnancy to term by tampering with their contraception or threatening violence. This bill would actually further endanger patient safety and access and we urge the Senate to reject it.
Planned Parenthood’s opposition makes sense, however, as it is responsible for 40% of the nation’s abortions, while its prenatal care and other services are rapidly plummeting. Offering a helping hand to women (and their children) who are in dangerous or coercive situations might mean reducing the actual abortions committed, which would mean less income for abortion businesses.
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