-- The Indiana Senate sent Gov. Eric Holcomb a measure Wednesday that would
make it tougher for a minor to have an abortion without her parents knowing
about it, after legislators changed the wording to leave open the
possibility that the procedure could still be kept private under some
Under Indiana law,
girls younger than 18 must either get their parents’ consent to have an
abortion or seek permission from a judge. The bill that senators approved
38-10 in a final vote would require the judge considering the request to
also weigh whether the girl’s parents should receive notification of her
pursuit of the so-called “judicial bypass,” regardless of the decision on
the abortion itself.
The new Republican
governor has not taken a public position on it. Spokeswoman Stephanie Wilson
wrote in an email that the bill is not on Holcomb’s agenda for the session
and declined to comment further, aside from noting he’ll “consider it
carefully before making his final decision.”
Senators who voted
against the measure Wednesday cited concerns with licensing provisions added
in by the House from a separate abortion bill that did not advance,
documentation the bill mandates must be kept in the minor’s medical file and
the treatment of minors in the foster care system.
The proposal by
Sen. Erin Houchin was heavily amended in a House committee amid
constitutionality concerns and, when it cleared the chamber last week, GOP
lawmakers still appeared to disagree on the bill’s effect.
joined Democratic senators in opposing it on the Senate floor.
Republican’s bill originally mandated parents receive legal notice when
their child pursues a judicial bypass and be provided an opportunity to
object to the abortion in court. The House stripped that provision, instead
requiring a judge to consider parental notification.
A federal judge
last month blocked a separate Indiana mandate forcing women to undergo an
ultrasound at least 18 hours before having an abortion. The ruling granted a
preliminary injunction temporarily blocking the waiting period, arguing that
the requirement creates “clearly undue” burdens on women.
“This bill, again,
is unnecessary,” said Democratic Sen. Mark Stoops of Bloomington. “I wish we
didn’t have to go through this every session and then be embarrassed about
it when a court overturns whatever we’ve done.”
Indiana Right to
Life praised the Senate’s vote Wednesday, pointing to additional provisions
in the abortion bill that codify clinics’ responsibility to verify the
identification of the person providing consent for the minor and adjust
reporting requirements to reflect Indiana’s age of consent. “Indiana is a
state that values life,” Sue Swayze Liebel, the group’s vice president,
wrote in a statement. “Policymakers have a valid interest in protecting
minors, recognizing parents’ rights and helping victims forced into
This bill is the
only abortion-related measure to advance this far in the legislative process
A bill that would
have effectively banned abortion in the state died without a hearing at the
start of session and a measure addressing so-called abortion reversal
procedures wasn’t advanced after reaching the Senate.
portions of that bill were incorporated into Houchin’s proposal.
Senate Bill 404 can
be found at: