Photo: Jason Coleman
At least nine bills affecting abortion policy have been filed in the first month of the Indiana General Assembly’s 2013 session. The proposed laws touch on many areas of state abortion law, but few seem to have much of a chance of passage.
The bills range from legislation banning abortions based on the race, sex, or physical soundness of the fetus; to stopping Indiana University hospitals from providing some abortions; to requiring abortion providers to give a woman considering an abortion a packet with photographs of fetuses as they move through the stages of gestation.
Indiana Right to Life public policy director Sue Swayze says it is just a matter of making sure the patient is informed.
“Arguably she’s nervous, she’s anxious, and this would be something that she could take home, review, look it over and think it through,” she says. “Much like other medical services,” she says.
Swayze says concern for a women’s well being is behind their top-priority piece of legislation this session. That is a law requiring clinics that administer RU-486, a drug that induces abortion, to have similar facilities as clinics that perform surgical abortions.
But Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen says such laws are not meant to protect women’s interests. She says their real goal is just to make an abortion increasingly harder to obtain.
“These bills it’s been said are intended to chip away, and we’re at the point where they’re really hacking away at the availability of abortion services because in four states now there’s only one provider in the entire state,” she says.
Johnsen says abortion rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court are so varied, it’s tough to tell which of the Indiana laws, if enacted, would withstand judicial review.