The governor of the US state of Indiana has signed two new pro-life bills into law, protecting the lives of the unborn and the conscience rights of medics.
The first piece of legislation bans the use of ‘dilation and evacuation’ (D&E) abortions, which are the most common form of abortion between 13 and 24 weeks in the womb.
Nurses, pharmacists and physician assistants will also now be able to refuse to participate in abortions or dispense abortifacient drugs if it violates their conscience, thanks to the second new law.
This extends the conscience protection rights beyond doctors and other workers who were already covered.
Mike Fichter, president of the Indiana Right to Life campaign group, praised the new law, saying it would protect children from the ‘barbaric’ practice of D&E, which is known in the bill as ‘dismemberment abortions’.
In contrast, the pro-abortion American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana is suing the state for limiting women’s access to abortion.
Seven other states have had such laws temporarily blocked by lawsuits, but Mississippi and West Virginia already operate similar laws. North Dakota recently approved another earlier in April. The Indiana law is expected to come into force on 1 July.
Speaking in response to the second bill allowing professionals to refuse to participate in abortions, Mr Fichter said, ‘All health care providers must be able to practise their profession in Indiana without helping to end a child’s life against their conscience’.
Earlier this year, Ohio passed a ‘heartbeat’ bill banning abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The ban takes effect after the detection of a foetal heartbeat at a point before many women are even aware they are pregnant.
Kentucky and Mississippi have adopted similar laws, and Georgia is on the cusp of signing such a bill. The Mississippi law takes effect in July.