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Indiana anti-abortion group says GOP senators' proposed ban bill 'lacks any teeth'

Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter said he believed the proposal doesn’t have “any meaningful enforcement provisions.”
Credit: WTHR

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s most prominent anti-abortion group is decrying the abortion restriction bill proposed by state Senate Republicans as weak and lacking enforcement provisions.

The proposal released Wednesday would ban abortions with limited exceptions such as in cases of rape, incest or to protect a woman’s life.

Republican Senate leaders said the bill would not add new criminal penalties against doctors involved with abortions but they would face possibly having their medical licenses revoked for breaking the law.

Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter said he believed the proposal doesn’t have “any meaningful enforcement provisions.”

“This bill goes through the motions on paper, but lacks any teeth to actually reduce abortions in Indiana by holding those who perform abortions or would intentionally skirt the law accountable with criminal consequences,” Fichter said in a statement.

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray’s office didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment Thursday.

The Republican-dominated Senate is scheduled to take up the bill on Monday as the Legislature's special session begins.

Senate Bill 1: Abortion 

Senate Bill 1 would limit abortion, but provide several exceptions. 

Hitting the highlights

Senate Bill 1 would greatly limit abortions and where they can be done.

  1. If the abortion is necessary to prevent a “substantial permanent impairment of the life of the mother," the bill's summary says.

  2. If the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest

The bill would also make it illegal for clinics that currently provide abortion care to continue providing that care. 

Senate Assistant President Pro Tempore Sue Glick, R-LaGrange, said this bill "does not criminalize women seeking an abortion." 

The bill's language says it would provide a defense for any pregnant mother who's criminally charged for having or trying to have an abortion. It also specifies that doctors who provide abortions can only be charged with certain crimes.

Other notes

There is a list of things Republicans said this bill does not do, including: 

  • Does not affect access to the morning-after pill or any other method of birth control
  • Does not affect treatment of miscarriages
  • Does not affect treatment of ectopic pregnancies
  • Does not affect in-vitro fertilization procedures
  • Does not prohibit ending a pregnancy when the unborn child would not be able to survive due to a fatal fetal anomaly
  • Does not criminalize women seeking an abortion
  • Does not create any new penalties for doctors who perform abortions – the existing penalty that allows a doctor to have his or her license revoked if he or she performs an illegal abortion will remain in place.

Senate Bill 2: Resources for women, children

Senate Bill 2 focuses on funding programs for women who could become pregnant, are pregnant, new moms, babies and families. It is meant as a companion bill to Senate Bill 1.

Hitting the highlights

Senate Bill 2 will create the Hoosier Families First Fund, which would provide $45 million for eligible existing and new programs to address:

  • Funding to support the health of pregnant mothers
  • Maternal support services and pregnancy resource centers
  • Access to contraception 
  • Pregnancy planning, including removing barriers to long-acting reversible contraception
  • Needs of low-income families with children under 4 years old
  • Increased access to child care
  • Support for foster and adoptive care
  • Programs to prevent children from entering the DCS system
  • Funding for Safe Haven Baby Boxes and more.

Other notes

Senate Bill 2 would also include $5 million to help increase the adoption credit from $1,000 to $10,000.  

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