By Samm Quinn
Gov. Mitch Daniels said he will sign a bill that will put into law some of the nation's strictest anti-abortion measures and make Indiana the first state to defund Planned Parenthood.
House Enrolled Act 1210 will block agencies that perform abortions from receiving government funding.
The decision means that Medicaid recipients no longer will be able to use the program to pay for visits to Planned Parenthood clinics. Daniels said that health care will still be readily available for those receiving Medicaid.
"I have ordered the Family and Social Services Administration to see that Medicaid recipients receive prompt notice of nearby care options. We will take any actions necessary to ensure that vital medical care is, if anything, more widely available than before," he said.
The bill also will shorten the window of time a woman can have an abortion from 24 weeks to 20 and require that physicians tell women the fetus will feel pain during the procedure.
Daniels said any organizations affected by the law who are concerned with this measure can continue to receive taxpayer dollars by eliminating or separating its operations that perform abortions.
"I commissioned a careful review of access to services across the state and can confirm that all non-abortion services, whether family planning or basic women's health, will remain readily available in every one of our 92 counties," he said.
He said he has supported the bill from the start and "the recent addition of language guarding against the spending of tax dollars to support abortions creates no reason to alter my position."
He said his decision has support in bipartisan votes in both the House and Senate and "an overwhelming majority of Hoosiers."
Planned Parenthood said that no government dollars goes to funding abortions. The agency said it will file an immediate injunction seeking to block the measure's implementation.
Rep. Linda Lawson (D-Hammond) said abortions will still happen even after the defunding.
Democrats are concerned about this bill, but aren't surprised Daniels signed it, she said.
"I'm really disappointed that we're even having that discussion in the state of Indiana," Lawson said. "It's not the choice of the people in this room, myself included, to make decisions for other women."
Lawson said there will be more unwanted pregnancies.
"Women who are not prepared to be parents shouldn't be parents," she said. "It's a difficult task when everything is all in the right place and all working the right way."
The above is one of an ongoing series of reports from the Indiana Statehouse by students at the Franklin College Pulliam School of Journalism.