NewsPublic Affairs / March 2, 2016

Bill Restricting Abortions Based On Disability, Ethnicity Advances

Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, shares his stance on the abortion bill. - Max Bomber/

Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, shares his stance on the abortion bill.

Max Bomber/

INDIANAPOLIS — A bill placing restrictions on abortions passed through the Senate with opposition from Democrats and three Republicans.

In committee, lawmakers amended House Bill 1337, which prevents aborted remains from being discarded as medical waste, to include Senate Bill 313. That legislation prohibits an abortion if the provider knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion on the basis of ethnicity, sex or disability.

“We legislate all kind of things here… and we do it all in a secular way where we never have to talk about religious and moral beliefs,” said Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage.

She said lawmakers who are voting for the bill needed to realize there are people that don’t have the same moral beliefs as them.

“This is a form of political narcissistic behavior that says you do not recognize the legitimacy of other people’s beliefs,” said Tallian.

Sen. Mike Young, R-Indianapolis did not agree with Tallian’s reasoning.

“I don’t have to be a religious person to believe that it’s a human being,” said Young.

Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, questioned the language in the bill that prevents an abortion even on the “potential diagnosis” of the fetus having a disability.

Young said the “potential diagnosis” is when a physician informs the mother that there is a presence of some risk that the baby may have a disability or health problem. But Democrats said the phrase made the bill too broad.

Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, was one of the three Republicans who opposed the bill Tuesday. She did not agree with the stipulations included in the bill.

“You can have [an abortion], if you just want it, for no reason,” said Becker. “You just can’t have it if it’s for this reason—which is totally ridiculous and makes no sense whatsoever.”

Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, and Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville, also voted against the bill.

The bill passed 37-13 and now returns to the House for consideration.

Max Bomber is a reporter for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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