This post was written by pastor Joseph Helt and originally posted here on Sanityville. Some minor edits have been made for this publication.

Indiana has been touted as having “banned nearly all abortions.” Indiana Right to Life has said the bill will “probably” result in “95%” of abortions ending.

It’s amazing how much the message has changed in the last 36 hours. For weeks, many pro-lifers have declared the bill bad and pleaded with legislators to fix gaping holes. Now that it has passed and has been signed into law it is being held up as a victory.

You will hear “abortion clinics are a thing of the past.” Note, the clinics are a thing of the past – not that abortion providing services are a thing of the past.

Below is my analysis of the language of the bill. I have followed it closely.

  1. “Abortion clinics” are indeed done in Indiana. They will be replaced by hospitals and “ambulatory outpatient surgical centers.” The only difference between an abortion clinic and one of these new centers is it must have “majority ownership by a hospital.” (top of page 3) In the next few weeks, is it not probable that a large hospital will simply buy a clinic and term it a center?
  2. Abortions will be legal if the woman has a:

“Serious health risk”…means that in reasonable medical judgment, a condition exists that has complicated the mother’s medical condition and necessitates an abortion to prevent death or a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”

(pg 6)

  1. They will be legal up to 40 weeks because of this on pg 12-15:

“Abortion shall in all instances be a criminal act, except when performed under the following circumstances:…at the earlier of viability of the fetus or twenty (20) weeks of postfertilization age and any time after, for reasons based upon the professional, medical judgment of the pregnant woman’s physician if:
(A) based on reasonable medical judgment, performing the abortion is necessary to prevent any serious health risk to the pregnant woman or to save the pregnant woman’s life”

  1. Dismemberment abortion is legal, too. In case you keep thinking they are trying to say “life of mother” with “health risk,” they are not:

A person may not knowingly or intentionally perform a dismemberment abortion unless reasonable medical judgment dictates that performing the dismemberment abortion is necessary:
(1) to prevent any serious health risk to the mother; or
(2) to save the mother’s life.

  1. Partial birth is allowed but is tighter in language:

A person may not knowingly or intentionally perform a partial birth abortion unless a physician reasonably believes that:
(1) performing the partial birth abortion is necessary to save the mother’s life; and
(2) no other medical procedure is sufficient to save the mother’s life.

  1. The law requires that there be a second doctor present to care for a newly born child if the attempted abortion fails and the child survives. This requirement is waived, however, if it would “result in an increased risk to the life or health of the mother:”

(b) An abortion may be performed after the earlier of the time a fetus is viable or the time the postfertilization age of the fetus is at least twenty (20) weeks only if there is in attendance a physician, other than the physician performing the abortion, who shall take control of and provide immediate care for a child born alive as a result of the abortion. During the performance of the abortion, the physician performing the
abortion, and after the abortion, the physician required by this subsection to be in attendance, shall take all reasonable steps in keeping with good medical practice, consistent with the procedure used, to preserve the life and health of the viable unborn child. However, this subsection does not apply if compliance would result in an increased risk to the life or health of the mother.

  1. They must tell a woman that life begins at conception before they allow her to murder the child. Among the many things listed as necessary for the woman to know on page 16: “That human physical life begins when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm.”
  2. They have relieved phsyicans from the crime of feticide, even if they break the law they just wrote:

“this section does not apply to… “a physician licensed under IC 25-22.5 who, upon the request of a pregnant woman, performs a medical procedure to terminate her pregnancy, even if the procedure is not authorized under IC 16-34-2-1.”

  1. The law includes instructions like these for a doctor and a minor to subvert her parents and the courts to perform an abortion without having to report it:

A physician who feels that compliance with the parental consent requirement in subsection (a) (b) would have an adverse effect on the welfare of the pregnant minor or on her pregnancy may petition the juvenile court within twenty-four (24) hours of the abortion request for a waiver of the parental consent requirement under subsection (a) (b) and the parental notification requirement under subsection (d). (e)

  1. Further allowance that they can avoid court altogether if it is an “emergency:”

(k) This section does not apply where there is an emergency need for a medical procedure to be performed to avert the pregnant minor’s death or a substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant minor, and the attending physician certifies this in writing.

  1. They require a 24 hour waiting period, but it can be waived on the same basis as everything else:

The twenty-four (24) hour period described in subsection (f) may be waived if a physician, in the physician’s best medical judgment, determines that an abortion is necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent substantial and irreversible injury to a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.

There are other problems with the law, but to sum up:

A physician may perform an abortion if he determines that the health of the mother (not the life of the mother) is at risk. He does not have to provide anything more than a concurring opinion of another physician to escape legal liability. This can be done all the way up to partial birth abortion and the physician is completely immune from criminal charges.

We have not banned abortion. To say that we have is to lie.

In all this, it is easy to point fingers at specific politicians. But, as it is, I do not know whether I would have voted for the bill or not. There were a few attempts to amend it to something better but they all failed. There were a few attempts to amend it to something that actually banned abortion, but they also failed.

What is a politician to do when he is faced with a bad bill but no other options? I do not fault the men who eventually voted for it. I do not fault the men who abstained. I do not fault the men who refused to vote for it.

God help us as we go forward.

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