INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, March 31, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Indiana House lawmakers have approved legislation overhauling laws regulating abortion that could make Indiana one of the most pro-life states in the U.S.

The state House of Representatives approved HB 1210 by a 72-23 vote on Wednesday afternoon. It also passed HB 1474 in an 83-11 vote.

“We applaud the Indiana House and its leadership for taking decisive action in passing these much-need initiatives,” stated Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter. “These bills represent common sense provisions that the vast majority of Hoosiers can agree on. We are confident that the Senate will now take equally swift action in moving this legislation forward.”

HB 1210 includes numerous provisions, including a reduction of the legal limit for abortion from 24 weeks to 20 weeks based on “substantial medical evidence” showing that an unborn child can experience excruciating pain from an abortion at that age.

An abortionist would have to first determine the “postfertilization age” of an unborn child before he begins to perform an abortion. Unless there is a substantial risk of death or irreversible impairment of a major body function, the abortionist would also have to strive to end the pregnancy in a way that gives the child its best chance at life.

Abortionists will also have to tell their clients about “the possibility of increased risk of breast cancer following an induced abortion and the natural protective effect of a completed pregnancy in avoiding breast cancer.”

The mothers or the biological fathers of aborted children can sue abortionists who violate the law, for actual and punitive damages.

Abortionists would also have to inform a mother both orally and in writing about all the facts related to fetal development, the physical risks of abortion, and offer her the opportunity to view an ultrasound of her unborn child and listen to the fetal heartbeat. Mothers must also be told that the biological father is still liable for child support, even if he has offered to pay for an abortion, and that “medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care.”

Women must also be told that there are couples ready and willing to adopt their child should they decide to carry their baby to term.

The law also specifies that the pregnancy of a child less than fifteen (15) years of age “may constitute child abuse under Indiana law and must be reported to the department of child services or the local law enforcement agency.”

Those requirements are strengthened by HB 1474, which requires that abortions performed on girls under 14 years old be reported to law enforcement within three days, and that an estimated age of the unborn child’s father be included in the abortionist’s reports, so that authorities can be helped in identifying and prosecuting child sexual abuse.

HB 1210 would also opt Indiana out of allowing abortion coverage in health plans participating in the state insurance exchanges that are part of the national health care reform and that go into effect in 2014.

Lastly, it would mandate that the Indiana State Department of Health post information about fetal development and abortion on its website, as well as a list of services for women looking for alternatives to abortion.

A similar measure (SB 328) has already passed in the state Senate, which will have to either approve the House version or vote on changes to reconcile the two bills. Once that happens, the legislation will arrive at Gov. Mitch Daniel’s desk for signing.

If signed into law, the bill becomes effective July 1, 2011.