On Tuesday, State Senator Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis) spoke against House Bill (HB) 1211 about the devastating effects that will result from the passing of this bill. HB 1211 restricts access to second term abortion procedures that are only used about 30 times a year in Indiana and generally in life saving circumstances. This piece of legislation passed out of the House with a vote of 71-25 and was up for a final vote in the Senate Tuesday resulting in a vote of 38-10. HB 1211 now moves to the governor’s desk for final consideration.
Here we go again. House Bill 1211 is not about safety for women, because if it were, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists who represent over 90% of all board-certified OBGYNs in the nation would reject measures like this. Our doctors are saying this legislation isn’t safe. I know there has been a lot of talk about the dilation and evacuation or D&E procedure, including graphic details. And they aren’t easy for anyone to hear. But what also isn’t easy to hear about? Doctors trying to desperately save a women who is hemorrhaging to death covered in blood on a hospital bed because physicians were afraid to perform the safer D&E procedure and were forced to induce labor for a high risk, unsustainable pregnancy. Also difficult to talk about is a woman who, doctors are rushing to save from sepsis, a disease I almost died from this summer, because she was afraid to come in with a dead fetus because of the stigma this state attaches to women who need abortions. This bill isn’t about the safety of women.
This is not about looking out for the emotional wellbeing of women, because the alternative to this procedure is an induction of labor, forcing a woman to go through the pain and exhaustion of labor to deliver what is a dead or dying fetus. That is forcing trauma on her, not protecting her emotional wellbeing.
Speaking of protecting, this is not about protecting life. Here we are debating something that takes place fewer than 30 times a year in Indiana due to dire medical circumstances, while over 29,000 of our living and breathing children live a life full of heartbreaking abuse instead of enjoying their childhood, learning in school and playing outside. That is enough children to FILL Bankers Life Fieldhouse with a line of 10,000 more wrapped around the building. Can you imagine the bruises, scars and broken dreams we would see? WE let that happen. But please, let’s keep talking about this.
This is not about caring for children, because Indiana’s child abuse number is the second-highest in the nation, lagging only behind Kentucky. If this was about children, we wouldn’t continue to argue this unconstitutional nonsense, but instead focus all our attention on the children who are here, getting beat up and abused by the adults, many times parents and caregivers, in our state. People supporting this bill might say we can do both. But we don’t do both. Because Indiana has child abuse rates more than double the national average. Here we are, debating this bill that causes very real harm to women while rumors circulate around the hall that the Department of Child Services is asking for too much money. So no, this isn’t about caring for children.
This is about abuse of power. We are using the power of the General Assembly to tell doctors they cannot use their best medical judgment. Instead, they must tell a woman and her family that her safety and life must be placed at risk. Why? Because this legislation won’t let that doctor intervene in the most medically safe way with a pregnancy that either is not or will not remain viable. Our doctors are saying this legislation isn’t safe, yet we are saying we know better. That’s an egregious abuse of power.
This bill uses the power of the General Assembly to demonize women who are in heartbreaking scenarios. The language in this bill, “dismemberment abortion,” is not a term that even exists in the medical field. It is political rhetoric steeped in shame, which is heartbreaking to me. We aren’t talking about elective abortions. There aren’t women running around Indiana delighting in the fact they are getting an abortion after the first trimester. This isn’t a coup against newborn babies. We are talking about grieving families that desperately want their baby to be born, but have learned from their doctor that will not happen due either to medical issues with mom or because the fetus will not survive. There’s not even an exemption in this bill for fetuses that will not survive. This bill bans a less traumatic and safer procedure, and instead can force women to go through delivery and deliver a dead pre-term fetus, or watch the fetus suffocate or seize to death. Can you imagine that trauma?
I can’t believe we are doing this to families. That we are making a time of grief and really tough decisions even harder on them. I can’t believe we are doing this to women. It’s not pro-life. It’s anti-humanity.