Back in 1897, the Indiana General Assembly attempted to legislate the mathematical value of pi. (See EHB 246-1897). As a consequence, our state was and is the subject of much ridicule. And rightfully so. Ignoring math and science to make life neater is certainly mockable behavior. Well, the General Assembly is at it again. O.k., actually, this time they aren’t legislating pi. Instead, they’re legislating the viability of a fetus. In Indiana, according to HB 1690, a fetus is viable at 20 weeks. No further medical evaluation is required to establish this fact.
Michele McNeil and Rob Schneider of the Indianapolis Star have a story on the General Assembly’s attempt to legislate viability and other efforts to limit the availability of abortions. Apparently when the Fetus Viability Act of 2005 was considered in committee there were many tears and fireworks. The quote of the day came from Vanessa Summers who appears to have been reacting to a saccharine-sweet woman who had self-anointed herself protector of all women. According to the Indy Star article:
And an angry Vanessa Summers, D-Indianapolis, left the hearing after her vote and yelled to an anti-abortion proponent who approached her: “In the name of Jesus, get out of my face,” before threatening to call in Indiana State Police troopers.
The person on the receiving end of Summers’ outburst was Linda Zimmerman, the coordinator for a group of sidewalk peer counselors who stand outside a Fort Wayne abortion clinic. She said she just wanted to talk to Summers, who voted against the bill. “I wanted to give her a hug and tell her that I was trying to protect all women.”
So, the measure is moving on to the House. But, maybe it’ll eventually die in the Senate, just like the Pi Bill did.
[…] Legislating Pi: Abortion Style By Doug The Indiana General Assembly never gets tired of trying to legislate scientific facts. Last year, they legislated a fetus into viability at 20 weeks. In 1897 they legislated pi as equal to 3.2. This year, by legislative decree, fetuses feel pain and human life begins at conception. So saith House Bill 1172 (as amended). […]
[…] Of course, we should not laugh too much at the benighted souls of the 19th century. We have our own band of unreflective legislators and constituents who would seek to legislate medical truths (also see here) by law. […]