Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a controversial abortion bill into law on Thursday that prohibits the procedure from being performed even if it has been detected that the fetus has a disability or other anomaly. Pence’s signature makes Indiana the second state in the country to do so and adds onto the state’s already highly restrictive abortion laws.
The bill easily passed through a GOP-led legislature earlier this month. Not only does the bill place restrictions on mothers who opt to abort based on race, sex, or disability, it also requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges or the permission from a doctor that does. It also restricts the use fetal tissue donations that could be used in medical research and requires that the fetus be buried or cremated.
When speaking to the Associated Press, Pence called the bill “a comprehensive pro-life measure that affirms the value of all human life.” Mike Fletcher, chief executive and president of Indiana Right to Life praised Pence’s decision. “We are pleased that our state values life no matter an individual’s potential disability, gender or race,” Fletcher said in a statement. “We also believe that the other measures in the bill are positive steps forward for providing dignity and compassion.”
Of course, the bill has been met with opposition, namely from Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and from a few women within the party itself. The organization is working with the ACLU to bring legal action against the bill.
“Pence fails to grasp basic facts when it comes to reproductive health. Education, coupled with access to all reproductive health services, is the most effective method of protecting Hoosiers. It is clear that the governor is more comfortable practicing medicine without a license than behaving as a responsible lawyer, as he picks and chooses which constitutional rights are appropriate,” said Betty Cockrum, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, in a statement.
Pence is currently vying for re-election in a tight race with his Democrat counterpart, John Gregg, who said in a statement that he would have vetoed the bill.
“While I am personally pro-life, this legislation was not well thought out or properly vetted. If I was in the legislature I would have voted against it, and if I were governor today, I would have vetoed it.”
Kate Connors, Director of Communications for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist was let down after contacting Gov. Pence urging him to veto the bill. “We’ve been hoping that the resounding chorus of voices would hit home. It obviously did not.”