House Bill 1210 passed on Wednesday 72-23, which would make most abortions in the state illegal after 20 weeks into a pregnancy and place a series of requirements on physicians before the procedure. The current law restricts most abortions at 24 weeks after conception, when the fetus is considered viable.
"Indiana has been a state that is focused on protecting all lives, including the lives of the unborn," said Rep. Culver. "This bill also strengthens the requirements of physicians who perform abortions, and eliminates several loopholes and questionable practices by physicians."
Physicians would be required to inform the mother orally and in writing before performing the abortion of the potential health risks, information about the fetus, available assistance, and the law. The mother also would have to view an ultrasound image of the living fetus prior to the procedure, unless the woman states in writing that she does not want to view the ultrasound.
In order to legally perform an abortion, a physician needs to have admitting privileges at a hospital in the county or an adjacent county where the abortion is performed. He or she would also be required following the abortion to inform the patient of near-by health centers and hospitals where they can receive follow-up care.
"Before a mother decides to end the life of her unborn child, we want to make sure that she is given all available information about the procedure and its possible risks," Said Rep. Culver.
The bill further holds physicians legally accountable for improper practices. A physician would be liable for punitive damages if he or she recklessly or intentionally attempts to perform an abortion in violation of state law.
HB 1210 prohibits abortions to be covered on qualified health care plans under the federal health care reform law.
The bill will now move to the Indiana Senate for further consideration. If passed, the law would be effective in July.