HB 1210 – Abortions

Fresh from protecting us from the gay peril, the Indiana General Assembly is unleashing the crazy in the fight against abortion. In particular, the debate is underway as to HB 1210.

Along with other risks, it requires a physician to tell a patient that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer. That it does no such thing does not seem to be important. Might as well require doctors to tell patients that abortions will make them fat and give them halitosis. Notably absent is any requirement that a physician advise of the risks of carrying a child to term. Obviously, this isn’t about informed consent.

What really got the Internets chirping though was a comment made by Rep. Turner while debating an amendment proposed by Rep. Riecken. The bill as written forbids a health plan offered pursuant to the federal health care reform bill from providing coverage to pay for an abortion. Rep. Riecken’s amendment would have made an exception for abortions made necessary by rape or incest. Rep. Turner said he couldn’t vote for such an amendment because women might lie about rape or incest to get their abortions. (Angry Black Lady at Balloon Juice is not amused.)

The Indiana Law Blog reposted some of the tweets from Indy Star reporter, Mary Beth Schneider during the debate:

#House defeats amendment requiring women be given “objective, scientific” info. on abortion. Really.

#Rep. Lawson, D and former sex crimes investigator, in tears as she tells House women do not lie about rape. Amendment defeated, tho, 42-54

#Rep. Turner, author of abortion bill, opposes exemption for women who have been raped, saying woman could lie about rape.

#House’s lone physician, Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, supported Welch’s amendment which went down 41-52.

#House rejects attempt by Rep. Welch, who is pro-life, to delete requirement that women be told abortion is risk factor for breast cancer.

#Hah! Rep. Reardon notes that majority of sponsors of anti-abortion bill in House “don’t have a uterus.”

Meanwhile, down in Indianapolis, the ACLU is attempting to help defeat the prosecution of Bei Bei Shuai. The issue generally is whether a woman should be subjected to harsher penalties simply because she is pregnant. The way the ACLU tells it:

On December 23, 2010, Shuai, a 34-year-old pregnant woman who was suffering from a major depressive disorder, attempted to take her own life. Friends found her in time and persuaded her to get help. Six days later, Shuai underwent cesarean surgery and delivered a premature newborn girl who, tragically, died four days later.

On March 14, 2011, Shuai was arrested, jailed, and charged with murder and attempted feticide. Had Shuai, who is being represented by National Advocates for Pregnant Women and local attorneys, not been pregnant when she attempted suicide, she would not have been charged with any crime at all.

Of course, no one would deny that what happened in this case is terrible and tragic, and probably no one feels that more than Shuai herself. But this case is about so much more than whether attempted suicide should be a crime — in Indiana it is not — and the death of her daughter; its implications go much further.

The state is misconstruing the criminal laws in this case in such a way that any pregnant woman could be prosecuted for doing (or attempting) anything that may put her health at risk, regardless of the outcome of her pregnancy.

Indiana is coming to resemble that old quip: Government small enough to fit into your bedroom.

Comments

  1. says

    #Rep. Lawson, D and former sex crimes investigator, in tears as she tells House women do not lie about rape. Amendment defeated, tho, 42-54

    Lawson is such a hack. So if I spend 30 seconds and find one story about a woman who lied about a rape, what do I get?

  2. says

    I don’t have time for a full-blown controversy over this today (although I’m on vacation, I’m under a writing deadline), but the “abortion – breast cancer connection” is not quite as risible as you make it out, Doug.

    In one of two places in HB 1210, there is reference to “the possibility of increased risk of breast cancer following an induced abortion and the natural protective effect of a completed pregnancy in avoiding breast cancer.” In the first of the two, it requires an abortionist to tell the woman of that “possible connection,” which is subject, fair and square, to the criticism that there appears, after pretty thorough study, to be no direct connection. In the other place, it authorizes some state department to publish material on this if it is “medically accurate.”

    But that abortion “does no such thing” as increasing the risk of breast cancer, and that it is akin to “tell[ing] patients that abortions will make them fat and give them halitosis,” is not true, either. It does do some “such thing.”

    Look at the Wikipedia article you link under “confounding factors.” Specifically, “One of the most significant controllable factors for breast cancer is parity, or the number of children a women has given birth to. With each full-term pregnancy (particularly the first) the breasts undergo growth and differentiation (in the third trimester); consequently, having no children can increase breast cancer risk.”

    So, insofar as abortion deprives a woman of a full-term pregnancy, it appears that it indirectly increases the chance of breast cancer, and the Bill notably connects abortion to incomplete pregnancy both times it mentions a breast cancer connection.

    That’s the strongest defense I can think of for requiring the advice. I think you can count on abortionists volunteering the risks of carrying to term, along with the risk of obesity and halitosis. They’ve been doing that for 38+ years.

    Finally, for the record, there was another class of humans of whom it was said that they do not lie about such things. The class was young children, and “such things” was child sexual abuse.

    But it turned out that children could tell lurid and implausible stories when subtly coached to do so by people who had a stake in promoting hysteria. Dorothy Rabinowitz has written eloquently of the resulting injustice.

    Do child sexual abuse and pregnancy from rape and incest happen? Of course. Are they alleged falsely sometimes? Ask any father who has been wrongfully accused by a wife hell-bent on getting custody with the help of professional enablers.

  3. Erin Rosenberg says

    Jackson- The health care exchanges, going into effect in 2014, will be run and managed by each state (though they can band together and have a regional exchange). These exchanges will have the health insurance plans that meet the standards and reforms included in the Health care law, but these are minimum requirements. States can set additional standards as they see fit, but they must meet the federal standards. The Federal insurance coverage subsidies in the law are done on a sliding scale based on income. These federal subsidies can only be used for plans offered on the state exchange.

  4. Doug says

    Thanks Roger. My halitosis comment was me in “throwing spitballs” mode. More seriously, I think I can defend the following statement: “The evidence supporting a connection between breast cancer and abortions is so tenuous that the strength of such evidence cannot plausibly be the reason our legislators are motivated to require physicians to speak of it to their patients.”

    And, I think you’re right that a blanket statement that women do not lie about rape is inaccurate. Such lies have been told. The problem from my perspective is that Rep. Turner’s rationale for opposing an exception for rape on that basis implies that such lies are common enough to justify his no vote.

    To me, the more plausible rationale for opposing a rape or incest exception is that these things are no fault of the unborn child. If you accept the premise that a fully human life begins at conception — which I don’t, personally — then I don’t see how you can justify a rape or incest exception. Once you accept the premise that a fully human life begins at conception, the only moral justification for abortion I can see as possible is one where the health of the mother is seriously jeopardized by the pregnancy and you’re essentially forced to choose one life over another.

  5. says

    And, I think you’re right that a blanket statement that women do not lie about rape is inaccurate. Such lies have been told. The problem from my perspective is that Rep. Turner’s rationale for opposing an exception for rape on that basis implies that such lies are common enough to justify his no vote.

    I don’t disagree. But also keep in mind that “rape and incest” as justification for abortion is pretty unlikely, too. The number of abortions done for “rape and incest” every year is probably not zero, but it is pretty close to zero.

  6. Dave says

    Here’s my problem with all of this:

    Number of abortions in Indiana in 2006 (first search hit I found, Kaiser Family Foundation): 10,614

    Number of people in Indiana (per Bing):6.423 Million

    This law affects roughly one tenth of one percent all all Hoosiers. Why is it even a priority? Why not focus on something like, oh, I don’t know, bringing jobs and economy to our State? Or better education?

    Perhaps if more Hoosiers were employed and well educated, abortion would be less of an issue, and we could have a serious, honest, debate about it? Perhaps if we spent a couple million more on REAL sex education, abortions would go down too?

    This thing is just crazy.

  7. T says

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19461458

    “The Relationship between induced abortion and the subsequent development of breast cancer has been the subject of a substantial amount of epidemiologic study. Early studies of the relationship between prior induced abortion and breast cancer risk were methodologically flawed. More rigorous recent studies demonstrate no causal relationship between induced abortion and a subsequent increase in breast cancer risk.” American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (people who know more about the subject than Hoosier legislators).

  8. Black Bart says

    “#Rep. Lawson, D and former sex crimes investigator, in tears as she tells House women do not lie about rape. Amendment defeated, tho, 42-54″

    “Alan Dershowitz (1991), for example, has further harassed his students by telling them that an annual F.B.I. survey of 1600 law enforcement agencies discovered that 8% of rape charges are completely unfounded. That figure, which has held steadily over the past decade, is moreover at least twice as high as for any other felony. Unfounded charges of assault, which like rape is often productive of conflicting testimony, comprise only 1.6% of the total compared to the 8.4% recorded for rape.”

    “The McDowell team studied 556 rape allegations. Of that total, 256 could not be conclusively verified as rape. That left 300 authenticated cases of which 220 were judged to be truthful and 80, or 27%, were judged as false.”

    and

    “They reported studies in two large Midwestern state universities which covered a three-year period ending in 1988. The finding of the combined studies was that among a total of 64 reported rapes exactly 50% were false. ”

    http://www.ipt-forensics.com/journal/volume6/j6_2_4.htm

  9. Paul C. says

    Dave – If you consider abortion to be the termination of a human life, 10,614 sounds like an awfully high number.

    You might find this immaterial, but I would predict that a large percentage of Hoosiers in Evansville (which does not have an abortion provider), Gary, and New Albany that have abortions performed leave the state to do so. I would not be surprised if the true number of Hoosiers aborted is twice as large as the number of abortions performed in Indiana.

  10. says

    Black Bart, you’re being insensitive. The facts are irrelevant. Ms. Lawson felt strongly about what she was saying, and that’s all that matters.

    Please be more sensitive next time.

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