Indiana ‘Dismemberment Abortion’ Ban (HB 1211)
This law was last updated on Aug 30, 2019
HB 1211 prohibits a person from performing a “dismemberment abortion” unless a physician reasonably believes that performing the procedure is necessary to prevent serious health risks to the pregnant person, or to save their life.
The bill defines “dismemberment abortion” to mean:
[…]an abortion in which a fetus is extracted one piece at a time from the uterus through clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or another similar instrument that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slices, crushes, or grasps a portion of the fetus’s body to cut or rip it off.
A person who performs such an abortion would be committing a Level 5 Felony, which carries a possible sentence of one to six years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.
A pregnant person may not be prosecuted or held liable for any damages relating to the abortion.
Individuals who worked at the direction of a physician who performed the procedure would not be held liable for damages for the abortion.
The bill provides that certain individuals may petition for an injunction; bring an action for the recovery of damages; and are entitled to attorney’s fees; if such an abortion is performed.
This law targets a procedure known as dilation and evacuation (D and E), which is commonly used during second-trimester abortions. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an abortion using suction aspiration can be performed up to 14 weeks’ gestation, but after 14 weeks the D and E procedure must be used to perform an abortion. As such, dilation and evacuation bans, depending upon their language, may ban all surgical abortion past 14 weeks’ gestation. (Source.)
The bill amends the definition of “abortion complications” to mean specific physical or psychological conditions arising from the induction of performance of an abortion (rather than any adverse condition). The bill includes the following changes to the current list of specific conditions:
- Replaces “hemorrhaging” with certain types of vaginal bleeding
- Replaces “blood clots” with “pulmonary embolism”
- Adds “deep vein thrombosis”
- Removes “metabolic disorder”
- Replaced “embolism” with “amniotic fluid embolism”
- Removes “physical injury associated with treatment performed at the abortion facility”
- Replaces “adverse reaction to anesthesia or other drugs” with “allergic reaction to anesthesia or abortion inducing drugs”
- Removes the term “emotional” when describing psychological complications
Based on model legislation drafted by the National Right to Life Committee.
1/10/19 – Introduced; referred to Committee on Public Health.
2/21/19 – Passed the House by a 71-25 vote.
4/2/19 – Passed the Senate by a 38-10 vote.
4/24/19 – Signed into law by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.
6/28/19 – U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker granted a preliminary injunction blocking HB 1211 from taking effect while the case proceeds.