Gov. Mike Pence signed into law on Thursday an extension of the abortion law that bans the termination of some fetuses with genetic abnormalities, including those with Down syndrome.
IndyStar reported that this decision was much anticipated, especially considering Pence’s conservative background.
“Pence, a social conservative with a long track record of opposing abortion, described the new restrictions as a […] ‘measure that affirms the value of all human life.'”
— Bill Cannon (@NewsCannon) March 10, 2016
Indiana’s move on this issue has caused a lot of political and social turmoil, particularly in regards to Planned Parenthood.
“It’s a divisive issue that’s once again placed the state at the center of a national debate,” the news source further said. “And a legal challenge to the law, which takes effect in July, is already in the works. Less than half an hour after Pence signed the measure, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky said it plans to request a preliminary injunction to block the new restrictions.”
According to U.S. News, Planned Parenthood “is working with the American Civil Liberties Union and expects to ask a judge to put the law on hold before it takes effect in July.”
While many supporters believe that the bill is worth the cost of added restrictions if it saves even one life, dissenters and Pro-Choice advocates fear that the bill will restrict open conversation between women and their doctors. This has been a particular concern for Patti Stauffer, the vice president for public policy for Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.
“This legislation is being watched very closely by a wide variety of constituencies, not just in Indiana, but across the country. […] It really does stigmatize and marginalize women who may be considering an abortion. It’s shaming and judging.”
“Sen. Jean Breaux, an Indianapolis Democrat, went as far as to call the measure ’emotional terrorism,'” IndyStar also reported.
Reactions to Indiana's new abortion restrictions from from John Gregg, Indiana Right to Life and others: https://t.co/M08sjwJilL
— Journal & Courier (@jconline) March 25, 2016
Part of the conflict associated with Pence’s decision is its relation not only to genetic abnormalities but also the fact it bans aborting based on race or sex. Many, including Planned Parenthood and Pro-Choice advocates, view this as constricting women’s rights.
During the proceeding, however, Mike Pence clearly stated his conservative views. He made it clear that his desire is to protect life and to defend the defenseless.
“Indiana already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation, and Pence called the bill, House Enrolled Act 1337, a ‘comprehensive pro-life measure,'” CNN reported.
Before the extension was signed, Mike Fichter, president of Indiana Right to Life, said that Pence has been a “champion for the unborn and their mothers” and that he anticipated that his actions would be “another measure of that commitment.”
Indiana bans abortions based on Down syndrome. amen to that. ????
— Rach (@RaaayAdams) March 11, 2016
— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) March 25, 2016
This move has also been appealing to many Republicans, but IndyStar said that this is not necessarily “because of their deeply held beliefs on the issue.”
“Many of the measure’s key supporters are facing primary challenges from social conservatives or are running for Congress in contested primaries, where voters often put a premium on anti-abortion credentials.”
Indiana became the second state in the nation to ban abortions sought because the fetus has a disability. https://t.co/OOXe5a5T7M
— IndyStar (@indystar) March 25, 2016
Paul Helmke, an Indiana University civics professor, said that he believes that a lot of this is for political purposes — that there are many elected officials who are pro-life and will vote on anything that restricts abortions.
“I think a lot of them feel that no abortion should be allowed at all, so anything that makes it harder to get an abortion, they’re going to vote for.”
What do you think? Does this move protect disabled and abnormal fetuses, or do you think that this is merely a restriction on women’s rights? Leave your comments below.
See the Inquisitr’s first look at Pence’s decision here.
[Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images]