INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The committee vote to advance the bill that creates new abortion restrictions was 8 to 5. The bill moves on to the House floor for further consideration.
The vote came after a spirited discussion that had little to do with abortion restrictions and a lot to do with abortion itself.
The focus of the abortion bill is on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Lafayette, the only clinic in the state where the abortion pill, RU-486, is administered while no surgical abortions are performed.
"We've been safely providing medication abortion at that facility for about two years now," Liz Carroll of Planned Parenthood told the committee.
The bill would require the facility to meet surgical standards that are so expensive the clinic would likely close instead. But supporters of the bill say it's a bigger issue.
"The fact is the door remains wide open under current Indiana law for any abortion business to come to Indiana to do chemical abortions anywhere it wishes," said Mike Fichter of Indiana Right to Life, "without even the slightest state oversight."
Opponents, too, argue that this is one battle in a bigger war.
"What this bill, I think, is really about," said student Kristen Hollister, "is marginalizing poor women who do not have access to a private physician."
For two hours, lawmakers heard arguments that had little to do with the legislation before them and more to do with access to any type of abortion.
"Many women struggle with depression, agoraphobia, post traumatic stress disorder, opioid (sic) and drug dependencies," said abortion opponent Heather Metzger, "and enough guilt that they feel they cannot go on with their lives."
"By making legal and safe abortion less accessible it is endangering the health of women," said Reba Wooden of the Center for Inquiry. "It's real purpose is targeted at Planned Parenthood."
It's a debate that never ends, but with Republicans holding a super majority in both Houses of the General Assembly it's also a debate that now favors the opponents of abortion. Just one Republican on the committee voted against the abortion bill.
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