INDIANAPOLIS – The proposed near-total abortion ban heads to the Indiana House of Representatives after narrow passage in the Senate during a rare Saturday session.
The House Courts and Criminal Code committee will hold a hearing on the bill Tuesday. The committee will hear public testimony and could make changes to the bill and take a vote. If it passes out of committee, the bill heads to the full House for consideration this week.
The committee is chaired by State Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville), who is also the bill’s House sponsor.
The bill would ban abortion at all stages of pregnancy, except in cases of rape, incest and permanent, substantial risk to the mother’s health.
Ahead of Tuesday’s committee hearing, House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) acknowledged he wants to see changes made but declined to specify what those changes should be.
“I would say it needs some work, and I’m confident that Chairwoman McNamara and the committee will do the work to improve it,” Huston said.
A growing number of health care providers and associations have been critical of the bill. After Saturday’s Senate vote, IU Health released a statement saying it could discourage doctors from practicing in Indiana.
“The bill’s restrictions on a physician’s ability to do what is medically proven and appropriate for the health and life of a pregnant patient, plus the threat of criminalization, impact our ability to provide safe and effective patient care,” IU Health’s statement read, in part.
Dr. Caroline Rouse, Indiana legislative co-chair of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, shares those concerns.
“People do not want to live in a place that is going to be less safe for their pregnant loved ones,” Dr. Rouse said.
But Dr. Nancy Wozniak, board member for the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said she doesn’t see it that way.
Though she doesn’t believe new restrictions would stop doctors from providing life-saving care, she said, she would like to see more specific language added to the bill regarding what doctors would be allowed to do.
“When people practice medicine in good faith and within the law, it should be pretty obvious that they were doing the best that they could,” Dr. Wozniak said.
Speaker Huston and State Rep. McNamara did not specify how long they plan to hear public testimony during Tuesday’s committee meeting.