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State approves Planned Parenthood defunding

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By Suzannah Couch

Indiana lawmakers on Wednesday approved an anti-abortion bill that would give the state one of the nation's most strict abortion laws.

House Bill 1210 blocks agencies that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood, from receiving government dollars.

It would also drop the cap on the number of weeks into a pregnancy a woman can receive an abortion, from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. Further, it would require a doctor to inform a woman before the procedure that the fetus would feel pain.

"I believe that with passage of this legislation, we will become the most pro-life state in America, and I will be proud of that," said the bill's author Rep. Eric Turner (R-Cicero).

Rep. Terri Austin (D-Anderson) said the bill should be split into two different sections, one on abortion and one on women's reproductive health rights. Democrats wanted to vote on each provision separately.

Speaker of the House Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) denied the request.

House Minority Leader B. Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend) said many Planned Parenthood clinics save women's lives, and that the House is making a choice risking those lives because they cannot agree on when fetal life begins.

Turner said there is nothing in the bill that stops Planned Parenthood from providing services and that abortions are not prevented in the bill.

Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh (D-Crown Point) said young women should have access to contraception at reduced prices, which agencies such as Planned Parenthood provide. The funding for such agencies comes from federal grants, which would be blocked under the bill now headed to Gov. Mitch Daniels' desk.

Rep. Rebecca Kubacki (R-Syracuse) said the human element is removed when people start depending on agencies like Planned Parenthood for guidance and help.

"We as human beings have to help these people - not agencies and not government, but our communities ourselves," Kubacki said.

Rep. Charlie Brown (D-Gary) said the governor's recent cuts into programs that would aid children makes the bill hypocritical. He said the government is telling women not to have abortions, but that the government will not assist the fetuses in the future as children.

The bill passed the House, 66-32.

The above is one of an ongoing series of reports from the Indiana Statehouse by students at the Franklin College Pulliam School of Journalism.

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