INDIANAPOLIS — A Senate committee changed legislation regarding the handling of fetal remains to add stipulations on when a woman can have an abortion.
House Bill 1337 is already a hotly contested piece of legislation, as it would require a miscarried or aborted fetus to be interred or cremated.
“What if the parents want to donate the fetus for research in the condition? I guess that would not be allowed,” said Sen. Mark Stoops, D-Bloomington. “I mean an autopsy to determine maybe a genetic defect after the abortion is one thing, but I think actually allowing the fetal tissue to be used for research purposes seems to be outlawed in this bill.”
Lawmakers amended HB 1337 to include Senate Bill 313, which prohibits an abortion if the provider knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion on the basis of ethnicity, sex, or disability.
Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, said having a child with disabilities is a large financial burden.
“What you are doing is imposing a huge, huge tax increase on families who otherwise should be able to determine their own future with their physician and not by the legislature,” said Becker.
The committee was not in full agreement on the amendment.
“I think it’s actually abhorrent to talk about people who have children with disabilities and suggest because they are on feeding tubes and can’t talk, ‘How awful that would be,’ and that ‘They should have had the option,’ and we are presuming and assuming that those parents would rather have their child dead. I think that’s a despicable thing,” said Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne.
The bill would also require a written agreement between a physician performing an abortion and a hospital that gives the physician admitting privileges in the county they operate. This agreement would have to be renewed annually.
Brown said it is not difficult to get admitting privileges if you are a qualified physician, but if you have performed medical malpractice then it is difficult to receive them.
“I think this proposal is that if you are the one who does the abortion, you should be the one to do the follow up care,” said Sen. Pat Miller, R-Indianapolis.
Stoops called the proposal “targeted” because the number incidents from abortions are so low “it is not fair and does not make sense.”
Under the bill, any health care provider that performs the procedure knowing the patient is having an abortion on the basis of ethnicity, sex, or disability would be subject to a Level 5 felony, punishable by up to 6 years in prison. A person who sells wrongfully acquires or transfers fetal tissues would also be subject to the same punishment.
The amendment and the bill both passed 6-3. The legislation now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
Max Bomber is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.
Correction: This story has been updated from its original version to show the committee voted on the legislation. TheStatehouseFile.com regrets the error.