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Controversial Abortion "Reversal" Bill Back Before Lawmakers

A controversial abortion measure will be before Indiana lawmakers within the next few days. (npr.gov)
A controversial abortion measure will be before Indiana lawmakers within the next few days. (npr.gov)
February 22, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS – A controversial piece of legislation that would require doctors to inform women who want to have an early stage non-surgical abortion that the procedure may be "reversible" will likely end up in court, if approved by lawmakers.

On a seven-to-six vote, the House Public Policy Committee signed off on HB 1128 this month, and in a rare procedural move, the full House sent it back to them.

The proposal raises medical and political questions, as well as privacy concerns: how much should government control physicians' conversations with their patients?

Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, calls the legislation preposterous, and says claims that the procedure can be reversed are "junk science." She says people need to speak up because it's unconstitutional and will be challenged in court if it were to become law.

"There simply is no medically based, evidence-based, health-care provider professional-based evidence to suggest that there's any truth to that, yet Indiana lawmakers are seeking that that not only be a provision, but that it be put into code," she said.

Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) introduced HB 1128. He told Indiana Lawmakers last week in a television interview that his goal is to dismantle Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in the United States.

"The only way I can have any effect on it as a lawmaker is to try and chip away at it as long as I can.”

Anti-abortion groups such as Indiana Right to Life are hailing the committee approval of HB 1128, saying it ensures women are informed about their options and urging Hoosiers to call lawmakers in support of the legislation. It will be back before House Public Policy members again as early as this week.

Cockrum says the bill is an intrusion into the practice of medicine and doctor-patient confidentiality. She calls it a political effort to shame and confuse women who are contemplating ending a pregnancy.

"Two-thirds of the women who have abortions have already given live birth at least one time," she added. "Do they really need a politician-written script in advance of an abortion? I don't think so."

A federal judge blocked a controversial abortion law in Indiana last summer. House Bill 1337, signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence in March, bans women from seeking abortions based on race, gender or fetal defect. It also mandates that women be required to bury or cremate the fetus. The law also required that doctors have admitting privileges in order to practice abortion services.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN