ndiana Right to Life is hailing today as the date on which sweeping pro-life policies passed by the Indiana legislature will go into full effect, saying these provisions are the most significant improvements to Indiana’s abortion law in nearly four decades.
“These are monumental advances in state policy that place Indiana on the leading edge of national efforts to curb abortion,” said Indiana Right to Life president and CEO Mike Fichter.
One of the new provisions will require abortionists to inform women that human physical life begins at fertilization.
“This is a huge win,” Cathie Humbarger, communications director for Indiana Right to Life, told The Christian Post. “We have fought hard for several years for women to be informed that human physical life begins at fertilization – a term that we coined to distinguish it from mental life, spiritual life, etc. It is a biological fact that women need to know as they consider having an abortion.”
Other provisions going into effect today include the requirement of abortionists to inform women that abortion may increase the risk of infertility, infection, or hemorrhaging and that Indiana’s safe haven law allows for mothers who decide to carry their children to term but are unable to care for their children to leave them with providers such as local police, without criminal repercussions.
Also, all abortions performed on girls under the age of 14 must be reported to child protective services within three days of the abortion in order to facilitate prompt investigation into child sexual abuse. And doctors who do abortions in Indiana must have local hospital admitting privileges, provide medical licensing numbers and provide emergency contact information to women having abortions.
Two provisions have been put on hold by a federal judge, including the removal of all state-directed funds for abortion clinics and a requirement that women be informed about an unborn child’s ability to feel pain. Indiana Right to Life is confident both of these provisions will be upheld by the courts and will eventually go into effect.
Humbarger says even though abortionists are not required to inform women about an unborn child’s ability to feel pain, protections were passed into law that will protect pain-capable children, beginning at 20-weeks gestational.
“Medical evidence is replete with information supporting the fact that a baby in the womb can feel pain at 20 weeks and many studies show sooner,” Humbarger said. “The new law prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks establishes the state’s responsibility to protect those persons.”
“This is also significant because a late term abortion provider has announced publicly that he is opening an abortion facility in Indiana,” she added. “This provision will eliminate that possibility.”
Indiana will opt-out of abortion coverage in any state health exchange required under the new federal health law passed by Congress in 2010. Humbarger said Indiana Right to Life won’t be surprised if there is a legal challenge regarding the state choosing to opt-out.
“However, we are confident that the will of the citizens of Indiana will prevail if challenged,” she said. “This legislation was drafted to include research and the opinions of the best legal minds in the country to make certain it would withstand a court challenge.”
Indiana Right to Life plans to monitor abortionists across the state to make certain they are in compliance with the new laws.