By, Jordan Stephen
Earlier this month, the Indiana state legislature quietly passed an abortion law that presents women with new and unusual obstacles if they are seeking the procedure.
The bill, HB 1337, could set a precedent for similar laws in states throughout the country.
"It's completely disrespectful of women," Dawn Huckelbridge, Managing Director of People for the American Way, told GVH Live. "I think the provisions in this bill, including the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, are completely ridiculous."
Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or TRAP, stipulations impose regulations on physicians that perform abortions that are disproportionate to the laws other medical doctors face.
Among these are provisions that require women to view an ultrasound of a fetus and listen to its heartbeat 18 hours before deciding whether to have an abortion. Of Indiana's 92 counties, only four have abortion clinics, making the trips costly and time-consuming.
Additional stipulations require women to pay for the cremation and burial of an aborted fetus and bars women from receiving the procedure because of "race, color, national origin, national ancestry, or sex of the fetus; or a diagnosis or potential diagnosis having Down Syndrome or any other disability."
The bill does not specify what "any other disability" would entail.
Doctors, who perform abortions under these circumstances, can be sued for wrongful death, placing a serious wedge between physicians and patients who may be interested in or require the procedure.
In other states, similar laws had unintended consequences.
"In Mississippi, for instance, there's only one clinic currently providing abortion care," Huckelbridge noted. "We've also seen, in Mississippi, the number of Google searches for self-induced abortion go up 40 percent, so these bills are threatening women's lives."
HB 1337, which was sponsored exclusively by Republican lawmakers in Indiana, has yet to be signed by Governor Mike Pence. Under the pressure of a tight bid for reelection in November, Pence is expected to sign the bill in order to garner the support of social conservatives.