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The holes in Indiana's pro-life law
There is more work to be done, and we need to make sure the exceptions in Indiana's abortion ban are not abused.
I said on Wednesday that Indiana's pro-life law is surprisingly good. However, it is certainly not perfect, with holes that need to be filled by a future legislature. It has been predicted that this will eliminate 90% of all abortions, but we will have to view the abortion statistics provided by the Indiana Department of Health to see if it actually does.
The first exception is in vitro fertilization, and there's no justification for it. If we truly believe that life begins at fertilization, then we should not allow fertility clinics to "discard" (murder) babies created and frozen to be implanted later. While it is great that medical technology allows people to have a child, it should not come at the cost of killing a living human person at the very earliest stages of development.
The second hole is abortifacient drugs. It has been well-documented (and even recognized by Planned Parenthood) that the birth control pill, the morning after pill, and other methods of chemical birth control can act by preventing implantation of a newly-formed human person in the uterus. This is not some conspiracy theory. The Food and Drug Administration admits that "Plan B may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb." The medical establishment tries to get around the abortifacient action of chemical birth control by defining pregnancy as implantation instead of fertilization, but that is dishonest.
Indiana's ban also explicitly allows abortion in the cases of rape and incest. The legislature allowed an innocent child to be punished for the crimes of his or her father. This is understandable from a political standpoint, because the legislation may not have been passed if it did not include this exception. It is nonetheless is a hole in the law that will need to be closed in order to protect innocent lives.
The biggest potential health exception is health of the mother. While the language does limit it to "serious" health risk, that does not appear to be clearly defined. Unless this is clearly defined, it will certainly be abused to skirt the text and intent of the law. It will be important to watch the abortion statistics from the Indiana Department of Health and compare statistics to previous years to see if this is indeed abused.
The law may not even prevent abortion clinics from performing abortions, as the requirement for abortion to take place in a hospital does not apply if "compliance with this requirement would result in an increased risk to the life or health of the mother." Combined with the previous hole in the legislation, abortions at Planned Parenthood could easily continue.
This is a good law and moves us much closer to protecting innocent babies than we have been at any point since 1973. But there is more work to be done, and we should not permit our legislators to rest on their laurels and declare the problem solved. We need to apply pressure to fill in the gaps and protect all innocent unborn lives, especially in Republican primaries.
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