INDIANAPOLIS — Pregnant Hoosier women who learn their child will be born with Down syndrome or another genetic disease, defect or disorder would be prohibited from obtaining an abortion, under legislation approved 35-14 by the Republican-controlled Senate.
Senate Bill 313, sponsored by state Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, bars doctors from performing an abortion if the doctor knows the patient is seeking an abortion due to a diagnosis, or potential diagnosis, of a genetic fetal disability.
The legislation also prohibits abortions motivated by gender selection, or due to the race, color, national origin or ancestry of the fetus.
Holdman said he hopes the proposal, which now goes to the Republican-controlled House, will reduce Indiana abortions and demonstrate that Hoosiers believe all life has value.
Opponents of the measure questioned why Indiana would force women to give birth to children with genetic disabilities if the women know they cannot or do not want to take on that burden, and the state is not allocating extra funds to help care for those children.
A woman still could obtain an abortion in Indiana prior to viability, or 20 weeks of pregnancy, if the fetus either is healthy or destined to suffer a nongenetic lethal fetal anomaly where the child dies within three months of birth.
In that circumstance, the measure requires doctors give women a state-published brochure discouraging abortion by detailing the availability of perinatal hospice programs that ensure "the woman and her family experience the life and death of the child in a comfortable and supportive environment."
Should the legislation advance through the House and be signed into law by Republican Gov. Mike Pence, it almost certainly will be challenged in federal court where most recently enacted Indiana abortion restrictions have been struck down as unconstitutional.
A separate proposal to win approval this week, House Bill 1337, encourages the burial of aborted fetuses and requires abortion doctors comply with numerous additional paperwork mandates.