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House hears more than 80 proposed amendments to abortion bill

Dozens of amendments were filed, some of them bringing a lot of debate.

INDIANAPOLIS — The biggest change to Senate Bill 1 that came from the Indiana House on Thursday involved the day the bill would take effect.  

Lawmakers changed the date to Sept. 15 instead of taking effect immediately if both chambers pass it and Gov. Eric Holcomb signs it.  

Over 80 amendments were filed, some of them bringing a lot of debate.

The biggest discussion came over an amendment that would have taken out exceptions for rape and incest. 

“No one chooses to be a victim of rape or incest, which is also rape, but ending the life of an unborn child is neither necessary or evidenced-based treatment for rape,” said Rep. Karen Engleman, R-District 70, who proposed the amendment to remove those exceptions. 

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“I have spent my professional career locking rapists up. This amendment would allow them to choose the mother of their child. Be reasonable. Vote no,” Rep. Mitch Gore, D-District 89, told his House colleagues. 

The measure failed 61-39, with a majority of House Republicans voting to remove the exceptions for rape and incest. An amendment earlier in the week removed the affidavit requirement for victims of incest and rape. 

As the House version of SB1 stands now, a victim of rape or incest who becomes pregnant has 10 weeks to decide whether to have an abortion, regardless of age. 

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Another amendment - one some lawmakers said struck a compromise - would have allowed up to 13 weeks for a person to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy, no matter the circumstances.  

“I believe there’s a middle that can be found as we protect the life of the unborn at the same time we provide choice for women in cases of unwanted pregnancy,” said Rep. Ann Vermilion, R-District 31.

“We need to listen to these young women, and we need to listen to something very important. This body, on this motion, has the opportunity to change this entire debate on a horribly divisive industry,” said Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-District 86. 

“Abortion is always murder when it ends the life of an innocent human,” said Rep. John Jacob, R-District 93.

That amendment was defeated 64-34. 

The House version of SB1 still allows for exceptions for abortions up to 20 weeks in cases of fetal anomalies found during a pregnancy where a child would not survive after being born. 

An amendment proposed earlier said clinics that perform abortions can't do so anymore. Instead, only hospitals, emergency care centers and doctors’ offices run by hospitals can perform the procedure.  

It also tightened up the law to make it more certain doctors could have their license suspended if they performed an illegal abortion or failed to report one.

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