Archive for Sunday, February 12, 2006

Indiana abortion proposal defines life as beginning at conception

February 12, 2006

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— Indiana women seeking an abortion would be told life begins at conception under a proposal that would give the state one of the furthest-reaching abortion consent laws in the country.

Only one state - South Dakota - has gone so far in what it orders doctors to tell women before they can get abortions, and that law has been blocked by a court.

Supporters say the legislation would provide women key information before making a decision, but critics argue it blurs the line between church and state and could infringe on doctors' First Amendment rights.

"To put our religion or faithful beliefs into a statute that's going to be law, without being able to back it up scientifically, I have real hard questions about doing that," said Indiana Rep. John Ulmer, a Republican who voted against the bill.

Indiana is one of 29 states with "informed consent" laws that require women seeking an abortion to receive information about the procedure, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights organization that researches and tracks abortion legislation.

Most tell women assistance is available for prenatal care, childbirth and infant care if they decide to carry their pregnancy to term.

Only South Dakota has beginning-of-life language similar to Indiana's proposal, which would require women seeking an abortion to be informed in writing that "human life begins when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm."

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