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Ind. Legislature Passes Ban on Abortion After 20 Weeks, Prohibits State Funding to Planned Parenthood; Gov. Considering Measure

Ind. Legislature Passes Ban on Abortion After 20 Weeks, Prohibits State Funding to Planned Parenthood; Gov. Considering Measure

April 28, 2011 — The Indiana House on Wednesday voted 66-32 to approve a bill (HB 1210) that would ban abortions after 20 weeks gestation and prohibit state government funding for Planned Parenthood centers in Indiana, the Indianapolis Star reports (Gillers, Indianapolis Star, 4/28).

The bill, which the state Senate approved on April 20, would prohibit state contracts or grants for Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortion services. The bill also would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless a woman's life or health is substantially threatened. Current state law permits abortion before viability. The legislation would require that abortion providers inform women in writing that human life begins when the egg is fertilized, that abortion can increase the chances of infertility and that a fetus might feel pain before 20 weeks. Current law already prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/25).

Planned Parenthood received about $3 million in federal funding last year, of which about $2 million was distributed by the state. The state also receives about $1.3 million in federal funds for Medicaid family planning programs. The state Family and Social Services Administration has expressed concern that Indiana could lose all $4 million of its Medicaid family planning funding if the bill becomes law because federal law dictates that states cannot pick and choose which providers receive the funds (Indianapolis Star, 4/28).

The bill moves to Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), who has seven days to take action on the measure, the AP/Miami Herald reports. Daniels has not indicated whether he will sign the bill, but it could become a law without his signature if he does not decide within the one-week period (Davies, AP/Miami Herald, 4/27). Many groups on both sides of the issue expect Daniels to sign the measure (Kliff, Politico, 4/27).

Planned Parenthood said it plans to immediately seek an injunction to block the legislation from being enforced if Daniels signs it into law. Planned Parenthood of Indiana President Betty Cockrum said the bill would force physicians to present medically inaccurate information to patients, adding, "Cutting off access to birth control to Indiana's most vulnerable will mean more unintended pregnancies, more Medicaid-covered births, and more abortions" (Indianapolis Star, 4/28).

Bill Could Indicate Daniels' Intention of Presidential Bid

The governor's decision on the bill likely will provide "the clearest indication" of whether Daniels is considering a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, the National Journal's "Hotline On Call" reports. If he signs the measure, he can "proudly tout" a legislative achievement in support of a social conservative agenda, but if he vetoes the measure, he will have turned his back on social conservatives by "putting state governance over presidential politics," according to "Hotline On Call." Daniels is expected to announce his decision on whether to run a campaign after the state legislative session ends on Friday (Alberta, "Hotline On Call," National Journal, 4/27).