Indiana Just Made It Illegal to Terminate a Pregnancy for Genetic Fetal Abnormalities

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IndianaDespite the fact that the ability to terminate a pregnancy is a woman’s Constitutionally protected right, this week Indiana governor Mike Pence signed a bill that makes it illegal for a woman to obtain an abortion because she is carrying a fetus with a genetic abnormality. Down syndrome is one condition that one is no longer allowed to terminate a pregnancy for in Indiana, but it is not the only genetic abnormality this law covers.

This law bans aborting a fetus if the reason is a genetic abnormality, which means Indiana just made it illegal to terminate a pregnancy if the fetus has a genetic disorder that makes survival outside the womb impossible.

Indiana just figured out the most painful way to kick a woman while she’s down. I can’t imagine the difficulty of finding out that a wanted pregnancy was not viable, or dealing emotionally with the knowledge that if a pregnancy were carried to term, it would result in an infant that had only a very short, intensely painful life. The decision to terminate a pregnancy under those circumstances is already one of the most horrible things I can imagine, but now Indiana has basically said that none of those people are allowed to make that decision at all. They must carry those pregnancies to term, and they must watch those newborns die.

“We know that you’re going to be forcing woman and families to suffer emotionally because they’re going to be forced to carry pregnancies that are not viable,” Kate Connors, director of communications for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said to the Associated Press. 

Either you trust women to make decisions about bearing, birthing, and raising babies for themselves, or you don’t. Where are the people who complain about the “nanny state” levying taxes on cigarettes and banning poisonous food additives now that the “daddy state” thinks women need some legislators to authorize their reasons for terminating their own pregnancies?

On top of all this, the law is basically forcing a woman to either carry a severely disabled fetus to term or to lie to her doctor about why she wants an abortion. For now, at least, a woman can still legally obtain an abortion in Indiana if she just says it’s for another reason. Doctors found guilty of performing abortions on people seeking them for those forbidden reasons could reportedly face charges of wrongful death, though, so this law basically creates a situation that encourages women to lie to their doctors, and makes doctors reticent to perform abortions on women they think are lying.

Governor Pence signed the bill Thursday, and on top of all that, it also mandates that the only legal way to dispose of an aborted fetus is by burial or cremation. (It is apparently anti-life to donate fetal tissue to science so doctors can use it to find new ways to save lives.)

According to the Chicago Tribune, even some female Republican legislators in Indiana say this went too far.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana says it is going to ask a court to block the bill. Otherwise, the bill is set to go into effect this summer.

In related news, Governor Mike Pence is up for reelection in November and is projected to have a very difficult race against Democrat John Gregg, who said Thursday that he would have vetoed this bill.

(Photo:  omersukrugoksu/iStockPhoto/Getty Images)