The state senate passed a bill on Tuesday that would bar women from aborting a pregnancy based on the fetus’ race, gender or disability.
The bill’s supporters emphasize its protection for children with Down syndrome – they say physicians often encourage mothers to abort them.
The bill’s co-author Sen. Liz Brown (R- 13 District) said SB313 adds restrictions to Indiana’s existing abortion law.
“This is what we call the soft bigotry of low expectations,” Brown said. “That those whose lives we think don’t have the value or have the worth that we do sitting here in the chamber today should not be born.”
Sen. Greg Taylor (D-33 District) said the bill violates state and federal law because it is legal for a mother to get an abortion within the first three months of pregnancy.
“If I were to stand up here today and say that I want to change the law, then I would change the law,” Taylor said. “I wouldn’t create a new one.”
The bill does allow the abortion of a baby expected to die inside the mother or within months of birth.
The senate approved the measure 35-14, with four Republicans joining Democrats in voting against it.