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).
House Bill 1172, authored by Representative Harris and co-authored by Representatives Woodruff (of course), Turner and Bischoff would further dictate to a physician on the best way to treat his or her patient before performing an abortion. The physician is required to tell a woman who requires an abortion, among other things, that adoption is an alternative, that a fetus feels pain, and that human life begins at conception.
Let’s go down that list:
1) Adoption is an alternative. Gee, really? How stupid do these guys think Indiana women are?
2) The fetus feels pain. Is this the consensus of the scientific community that studies fetal development or are we just legislating that fact into being? Surely it matters how far along in the pregnancy you are. At 40 weeks – sure (but, obviously abortion is illegal at that point.) At 2 weeks – No. Sometimes real life is messy. Pi equals 3.14159265 etc, not 3.2 — even though 3.2 is much neater. So, even though 3.2 is easier, it was wrong of the legislature to try to legislate the facts of the world into something they’re not.
3) Human life begins at conception. This is a twofer — now we’re legislating science and theology. I’ll grant you that life begins at conception. But a blastocyst is not a fully human life. At that point it’s just a clump of cells with potential. At some level, the right-to-lifers surely know this. If they truly believed that an abortion terminated a fully human life, they would be using all necessary force, including killing anyone and everyone who stood in their way, to put an end to the practice. At least I think that’s what I would do if, to use the Holocaust as an example, I thought they were gassing Jews in the clinic down the street. At any rate, our citizen legislators have no business telling physicians — men and women of science — that they have to represent this assertion as scientific fact and gospel truth to their patients.
Another bass ackward aspect of this bill is that it was placed in and passed by the House Public Policy and Veterans Affairs Committee, not the House Public Health Committee or even the House Family, Children, and Human Affairs Committee, as you would expect.
Hat tip to Lawgeekgurl for the heads up and the excellent post on the topic.