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Indiana Senate committee passes bill to prohibit abortions based on disability or gender

by | Feb 19, 2015

By Dave Andrusko

Indiana State Sen. Travis Holdman

Indiana State Sen. Travis Holdman

Senate Bill 334 would prohibit abortions based on gender or disability. Yesterday the measure passed the Indiana Senate Health and Provider Services Committee on a vote of 7-4. It now heads to the full Senate.

“Senate Bill 334 sends a clear message that Indiana does not tolerate discrimination,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “Studies show babies have been targeted for abortion simply because of a disability, potential disability or gender. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls in the world were aborted because of their gender. Additional studies show up to 90 percent of babies with Down syndrome are targeted for abortion because of their extra chromosome.”

Bill sponsor Sen. Travis Holdman said unborn children diagnosed with disabilities deserved protection and to do otherwise was heading down a “slippery slope” on judging the value of life, the Associated Press reported.

“I think we need to have a policy of life rather than a policy of extermination.”

Mary O’Callaghan, the mother of a child with Down syndrome and a Public Policy Fellow, Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, said allowing abortions when babies are prenatally diagnosed with a disability helps continue what she sees as discrimination against those with disabilities.

“Banning abortion due to disability sends a clear message to mothers that their child’s disability is not a death sentence,” she said.

According to Indiana Right to Life, many witnesses lined up to speak on SB 334.

In addition to O’Callahan, they included Dr. David Prentice, Charlotte Lozier Institute; Dr. Aaron Deweese, neonatologist; Kathleen Black, disability activist; Dr. Lori Buzzetti, OB-GYN, trained residents at St. Vincent Hospital and starting “So Big,” a non-profit to help pregnant women; Asleigh Moon, mother who was given a negative prenatal diagnosis and whose child was born without any genetic anomalies; Kathie Shaw, young woman with Down syndrome; and Sue Swayze, from Indiana Right to Life.

Categories: Legislation