[JURIST] The Indiana House of Representatives [official website] approved legislation [HB 1210, PDF] Wednesday banning abortions performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy, citing the possibility that after that point the fetus may be able to feel pain. Under HB 1210, a physician must “[d]etermine in accordance with accepted medical standards the postfertilization age of the fetus and which trimester the pregnant woman receiving the abortion is in [and] determine whether the fetus is viable” prior to performing an abortion. If the fetus is determined to be beyond the 20 week fertilization period, the abortion is banned. The bill makes the performance of an abortion beyond 20 weeks a criminal act with the limited exception of a procedure deemed necessary to save the life of the mother. HB 1210 also effectively cuts all state funding to Planned Parenthood of Indiana [advocacy website]. The bill prohibits an agent of the state from making a contract with or granting funds to “any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed.” The bill will be sent to Governor Mitch Daniels [official website] for signature. Also Wednesday, the Florida House of Representatives [official website] also passed legislation [HB 1127 materials] aimed at restricting abortion. HB 1127 mandates an ultrasound be performed, and that the resulting image be viewed by the pregnant woman, before she can seek an abortion.
The legislation in Indiana and Florida adds to the number of states that have recently passed similar legislation restricting the controversial procedure. Alabama, Ohio and Oklahoma [JURIST reports] have each passed legislation this year which restricts the abortion procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Idaho [JURIST reports] have also recently passed legislation restricting late term abortions. In March, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard [official website] signed into law [JURIST report] a bill requiring women to seek counseling at a pregnancy center and wait three days before obtaining an abortion.