Wednesday, the Indiana Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services approved a bill to update Indiana's informed consent statute for abortion. The bill, HB 1210, would require abortion providers to give written (rather than oral) instructions to a woman considering abortion. That written information from the Indiana Department of Health would include information about risks of abortion as well as childbirth, alternatives to abortion, the financial responsibilities of the father and information on the gestational age and development of the baby.
The bill also includes significant safety requirements concerning hospital follow-up with the abortionist in case a woman has complications. The basis for this portion comes from testimony from various emergency room physicians, particularly in Fort Wayne, describing problems in which their hospital could not quickly or easily reach the doctor who flies to do abortions and then returns to his home in Chicago. This can be a significant problem when time is of the essence when an abortive patient comes to an ER in a critical crisis situation.
Another key provision of HB 1210 is the recognition of fetal pain after 20 weeks in a late-term abortion. Committee Chairman Sen. Patricia Miller, a nurse by profession, pointed out to a doctor who disagreed with this research, that it is common practice to use anesthesia for the fetus during in vitro surgeries. The doctor said that there were many reasons for this including to "calm" the fetus for surgery. Yet, there are calming drugs such as Valium, and the baby is still given anesthesia blocking pain. Why? The answer seems obvious and the research is also revealing that nerve development and pain are present between 16 and 20 weeks of a baby's gestation.
The other purpose of this "20 week" section of the bill is to prevent a late-term abortionist in Nebraska who has stated his intention to open up shop in Indiana from acting upon that threat.
House Bill 1210 passed the Indiana House with over 70 votes and more than 50 co-authors. Yet, the committee took out some portions of the bill to get the issue to the Senate floor on a 6-2 vote. One issue concerned Obamacare and abortion funding. The other was a warning that there may be a link between pregnancy termination in terms of a miscarriage or an abortion and breast cancer. The stated reason to remove this information was the claim that this was not settled science. There is a lot of debate over this issue because it is fairly new research and because of the highly charged political ramifications if such a link can ever be established. There may come a day when Hoosier women will be told of this possible risk, but the committee decided that such a policy decision, as part of informed consent for abortion, will have to be revisited some other session.
There is a whole lot going on behind the scenes on life issues right now. I hope to share more of those details with you when possible. HB 1210 will be open to amendments and Senate passage next week. It is always easier to dilute or to block a bill than it is to pass one. The pro-abortion forces are fighting us every step of the way. For this reason, we are working around the clock to keep this measure alive and moving through amendments, a full Senate vote, and onto the Governor's desk.