After a five week stalemate in the House, our counterparts have returned to work and we were able to finish the calendar from February 22. We worked late into the night for three days in a row and discussed many issues. In the end, we made great strides to pass the final House bills out of the House and over to the Senate. Included in those bills were a state budget that we are constitutionally required to finalize by April 29 and also a pro-life bill that I co-authored.
House Bill 1210 will help further protect the sanctity of life and make women more aware of their choices before having an abortion. The bill will not allow for an abortion of a fetus after 20 weeks. This limit was set after reading studies and hearing testimony that the fetus can feel pain at this point. HB 1210 also requires that a doctor must have admitting privileges to a hospital in the county or a contiguous county to where the abortion is performed. We want to make sure if a woman does choose to have an abortion then she will be well taken care of if there are complications.
HB 1210 adds that a pregnant woman must be informed orally and in writing before an abortion may be performed by their doctor about the risks involved, information concerning the fetus, available assistance, and existing law. It also requires a pregnant woman seeking abortion to view fetal ultrasound imaging unless the pregnant woman states in writing that she does not want to view the ultrasound.
In addition, the bill prohibits qualified health plans under the federal health care reform law from providing abortion coverage. And that a pregnant woman seeking an abortion must be notified that an abortion may increase her risk of breast cancer. If a doctor performs an abortion and does not comply with these laws then the pregnant woman or the biological father may take actions against the doctor to prevent him from performing future abortions.
With this bill our hope is that we can further protect the lives of unborn children in the future. I've received a lot of support for this legislation and I am happy to see it progress through the House and head to the Senate for consideration.
I am thankful to be back on track and we are working as quickly as possible to meet our deadline of April 29. It is quickly approaching and we are going to be working late nights and long weeks to accomplish our goals. Your feedback is always welcome and I encourage you to contact me by email at H63@in.gov or by phone at 1-317-232-9671.
Rep. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper)