Indiana Senate passes bill banning abortions based solely on sex or disability

By Dave Andrusko

Katie Shaw

Katie Shaw

A bill to ban abortions based on gender or disability passed the Indiana Senate Tuesday by a strong vote of 35-14. The measure now moves onto the Indiana House.

Senate Bill 313 would ban abortions if the reason a woman seeks one is “solely” because of the baby’s sex or because she is diagnosed, or potentially diagnosed, with Down syndrome or another genetically-inherited disease.

“We have in here a very, very clear mandate that we do not want to discriminate and really that’s what we’re doing here today if we don’t pass this bill,” the author of the bill, state Sen. Liz Brown, said last week during a committee meeting. “We’re saying there are certain classes and categories of individuals in the state of Indiana who have less value,” Rachel Hoffmeyer of reported.

Last Wednesday, Katie Shaw was one of the witnesses who testified before a meeting of the Health and Provider Services Committee.

“Five months into pregnancy, my mom found out I had Down syndrome. The doctors never mentioned abortion,” Shaw said. “My parents, with the help of doctors, focused on what would help me have a wonderful life. I’m grateful my parents gave me a chance to live a wonderful life and they did not abort me.”

Why is the bill needed? According to Sen. Brown because doctors are “pressuring women to have these abortions.”

“What we hear from doctors is — it would really be better off if you were not born,” Brown said, according to the Indianapolis Star. “If you are born, we will love you, and we think you have equal rights and should be a member of society. In fact, we have the Americans with Disabilities Act and have to make accommodations. But we don’t want to make the accommodation before you’re born, and in fact, it would really be easier if you were not born.”