Indiana just passed an anti-abortion bill so outrageous that even some pro-life politicians in the state are calling BS.
HB 1337, approved by the Indiana House of Representatives in a 60-40 vote on Wednesday, would make providers or individuals in possession of aborted and even miscarried fetuses responsible for their cremation or burial -- because nothing says “this bill has nothing to do with punishing women for having sex!!!” like burdening them with the disposal of fetal remains.
The bill also restricts abortion on the basis of genetic abnormalities, gender, or race, but make no mistake: HB 1337 isn’t about ending discrimination -- it's about further chipping away at Indiana women’s legally protected right to choose. HB 1337 includes an insidious laundry list of restrictions common to the more than 231 anti-abortion bills introduced since 2011, such as: a clause requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital (something widely shown to be not just unnecessary, but medically dangerous); a clause making the transfer or collection of fetal tissues a felony (never mind that research using such tissues has led to invaluable vaccines); and a clause that would require women considering an abortion to be given the chance to listen to the fetal heartbeat and view a fetal ultrasound at least 18 hours before the procedure. Restrictions like these are often presented under the guise of making abortion safer — a justification that crumbles in light of the fact that, in making the procedure less and less accessible, they do the exact opposite.
Still, Indiana’s house speaker, Brian Bosma, a 58-year-old man who has never been and will never be pregnant, defended the bill via a surreal appeal to state pride, saying, "Those unborn children are Hoosiers and they have constitutional rights. We’re not making a determination about women's health. We are trying to protect the right of the unborn; they cannot speak for themselves.”
But because women’s bodies aren’t fetal Airbnbs and abortion is a medical procedure, you actually can’t separate bills like HB 1337 from women’s health. Restrictions on the medical care women receive affect their physical, mental, and financial well-being, so inhibiting women’s access to such care is inherently “making a determination” about their health — i.e., that it doesn’t matter. At least, not enough. As CBS reports, “critics say the measure would require pregnant women to endure complicated pregnancies that pose a danger to their health and would lead women to not speak candidly with their doctors.”
The Indiana measure is so cruel and extreme that it has spurred even some anti-abortion legislators to condemn it. "The bill does nothing to save innocent lives,” Representative Sharon Negele, a Republican who sponsored a 2015 bill restricting a local Planned Parenthood clinic, told CBS. "There's no education, there's no funding. It's just penalties.”
Representative Sean Eberhart, who told CBS News he’s "as pro-life as they come,” called the bill "a perfect example of a bunch of middle-aged guys sitting in this room making decisions about what we think is best for women,” and continued that “we need to quit pretending we know what's best for women and their health care needs."
HB 1337 is currently on its way to the desk of Indiana’s Republican governor, Mike Pence, deemed “a strong supporter of the rights of the unborn” by a spokeswoman. In the meantime, I invite you to join me in donating to Planned Parenthood in the state’s honor. And to the legislators who voted for HB 1337: It’s a good thing you can’t get pregnant from fucking yourself.