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Ind. Senate advances bill banning abortion based on sex, disability diagnosis of fetus

February 4, 2016 — The Indiana Senate on Tuesday voted 35-14 to pass a measure (SB 313) that would ban abortion sought because of the sex of the fetus or due to a fetal disability, such as a diagnosis of Down syndrome, the Indianapolis Star reports (Schneider, Indianapolis Star, 2/2).

Bill details

The measure banning abortion based on a fetus' sex or disability was proposed by state Sens. Travis Holdman (R) and Liz Brown (R). Under the measure, physicians who provide abortion care when they know the procedure is sought because of the sex or disability diagnosis of a fetus could face civil liability.

The bill originally required a woman to receive information about perinatal hospice care in cases of fatal fetal anomalies. However, lawmakers amended the measure during the committee vote to allow women to obtain abortion care in such instances.

The measure also would make it a felony to sell, obtain, transfer or receive fetal tissue. Further, the bill would make it illegal for an abortion provider to alter the procedure to preserve fetal tissue. The measure does not affect stem cell research (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/29).

Latest developments

The bill now heads to the state House. According to the Star, a similar measure died in the state House last year.

State Sen. Jean Breaux (D) said the bill was designed to curb women's abortion access, stating, "Abortion remains a deeply personal and sometimes very complex decision that must be left to the woman, her family and her faith" (Indianapolis Star, 2/2).