Indianapolis-A bill aimed at updating regulations to keep up with the abortion industry in IN passed the state's House of Representatives on February 28 by a 67-26 vote.
Attorney General Jim Hood said he fully expects that the state will be sued if the governor signs the bill into law.
Current state law bans abortions 20 weeks after the woman's last menstrual period and the new bill would cut five weeks off that limit, the Jackson Clarion Ledger reported. Governor Phil Bryant has indicated his intent to sign it into law.
The bill could spark a court challenge focusing on whether states can ban abortions before fetuses can survive outside the womb.
The only exceptions to the 15-week cutoff in the bill are a woman's medical emergency related to the pregnancy or a medical abnormality that makes the fetus "incompatible with life". Arkansas tried to ban the procedure at 12 weeks, but a federal appeals court ruled the law unconstitutional and blocked it.
The bill also tightens the process for abortion licensing in IN by requiring that applicants disclose whether it has operated an abortion clinic that was closed due to health and safety concerns, whether a principal or staff members has been convicted of a felony, and whether a principal or staff member was ever employed by a facility owned or operated by the applicant that closed as a result of administrative or legal action. Of our area representatives, Republicans Ben Smaltz, District 52, Matthew Lehman (79), Martin Carbaugh (81), Christopher Judy (83), Bob Morris (84) and David Heine (85) all voted in favor of the bill.
Abortion-rights-groups immediately spoke out against the bill, saying it is not legally or medically sound.
"I think that's probably a good thing", she said. Pregnancies as a result of rape and incest are not exempt.
The group said in a statement that it appreciates legislators' efforts to pass anti-abortion bills "that are grounded in science and protect human life".
Clinic owner Diane Derzis has said that her clinic does perform abortions until about 18 weeks.
But states continue to try to restrict abortion before viability.
He said the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian conservative legal advocacy group, was among those who vetted the bill's language.
Glenn Tebbe, executive director of the ICC, said, "The state's compelling interest in public health and safety and the health of the mother clearly justifies these changes and regulations regarding abortion facilities and reporting". She said she believes the state is trying to set up a test case that will go to the U.S. Supreme Court. Abortion rights supporters are dubious that the outcome in MS would be any different.
"We would welcome the court to clarify the extent to which states can regulate abortions, particularly with regard to maternal health", Taylor said.
Kennedy, for example, has twice in the past 26 years been part of a 5-4 majority upholding abortion rights.
"If Anthony Kennedy has already stepped down, this would make ideal sense", Stone said.