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Ind. Senate Panel Passes Bill Banning Abortion Based on Sex, Disability Diagnosis of Fetus

An Indiana Senate committee on Wednesday voted 7-4 to advance a measure (SB 313) that would ban abortion sought because of the sex of the fetus or a fetal disability, such as a diagnosis of Down syndrome, the Indianapolis Star reports.

The measure now proceeds to the full state Senate. According to the Star, the chamber has stalled on a separate bill (SB 144) that would ban abortion after the fetal heartbeat is detectable.

Bill Details

The measure banning abortion based on a fetus' sex or disability was proposed by state Sens. Travis Holdman (R) and Liz Brown (R). Under the measure, physicians who provide abortion care when they know the procedure is sought because of fetal sex or disability could face civil liability.

In addition, the bill requires a woman to receive information about perinatal hospice care in cases of fatal fetal anomalies. However, according to the Star, the measure was amended during the committee vote to allow women to obtain abortion care in such instances.

The measure also would make it a felony to sell, obtain, transfer or receive fetal tissue. Further, the bill would make it illegal for an abortion provider to alter the procedure to preserve fetal tissue. According to the Star, stem cell research is not affected by the proposed law.


State Sen. Vaneta Becker (R) said restricting abortion care based on the fetus' sex or diagnosis of disability establishes a "dangerous precedent." She said, "This bill does nothing to improve or protect women's health," adding, "This bill is just clearly a bill designed with a broader agenda ... to shame and judge women."

Separately, Amy Miller of the League of Women Voters of Indiana, said the measure "makes an already difficult situation worse by inserting politics into private medical decision-making" (Schneider, Indianapolis Star, 1/28).