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Ind. lawmaker to propose abortion ban

November 18, 2016 — Indiana Rep. Curt Nisly (R) said he plans to introduce legislation that would ban abortion in the state, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports (AP/Sacramento Bee, 11/17).

Nisly said he will propose the measure when the Indiana Legislature convenes in January.

According to the Indianapolis Star, the proposed measure would criminalize all abortion care, allowing prosecutors to file charges against those involved in the process. Under the bill, if a woman's life is in danger, providers would be obliged to try to treat both the woman and fetus (Wang/Cook, Indianapolis Star, 11/17).

The measure is not expected to advance in the state Assembly, the AP/Bee reports (AP/Sacramento Bee, 11/17). However, although Gov.-elect Eric Holcomb (R) has not commented directly on the proposal, he has said he would support antiabortion-rights legislation should it pass.

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Ken Falk, legal counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, denounced the measure as unconstitutional, saying, "I do not think a legislature sworn to uphold the laws of the United States should be introducing laws that are so obviously unconstitutional."

According to the Star, Roe v. Wade and subsequent Supreme Court decisions have established that women have a right to abortion care before fetal viability. Abortion-rights opponents in the state acknowledged the bill would face legal challenges, but they said they hope the lineup on the Supreme Court will change before the measure, if passed and challenged, reaches the high court.

Falk said even if the Supreme Court lineup changes, he is doubtful the justices would strike down Roe. "I'd be surprised if any court would go in and tear down anything that has so clearly and for so long been the law of the land," he said (Indianapolis Star, 11/17).