INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, March 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On Sunday, Indiana’s Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed legislation empowering prosecutors to recognize preborn babies as second victims in the murder of their mothers.
He also signed legislation strengthening scrutiny of abortion facilities.
Senate Enrolled Act 203 gives prosecutors the discretion to charge individuals with murder, voluntary manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter against a preborn baby if they did so in the course of committing the same crime against a pregnant woman.
The law applies to babies “in any stage of development,” and it does not require the offender to have known the victim was pregnant or to have specifically intended the baby’s death. The second homicide can add anywhere from six to twenty years’ to a convict’s prison sentence.
However, the law includes language clarifying that it does not apply to legal abortions, or to women who induce their own abortions.
Republican state Sens. Aaron Freeman of Indianapolis and Jean Leising of Oldenburg wrote SEA 203. In January, Freeman replied to pro-abortion critics of the bill by downplaying any connection between it and the broader abortion debate.
“I want to make it very clear that this is not an abortion bill,” Freeman said, according to the Indianapolis Star. “I am just trying to give the prosecutors another avenue to prosecute folks […] There’s nothing else being intended here.”
Meanwhile, Senate Enrolled Act 340 requires that all doctors in the state annually report any treatment of 26 different conditions known to be potential abortion complications. These conditions include perforation of the uterus or cervix, infections, hemorrhaging, blood clots, cardiac or respiratory arrest, and emotional or psychological conditions.
SEA 340 also mandates annual inspections of abortion facilities, requires that those applying for abortion facility licenses disclose any prior history of medical or legal problems at past abortion facilities, and authorizes fire departments to act as “safe havens” where mothers can anonymously give their babies up for adoption.
“The only way that truly informed consent is possible is if we know accurate complication rates of the procedures and medications that we’re recommending,” American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists president Dr. Christina Francis said January in support of the law. “In order to allow women to make a truly informed choice, we must have accurate information to give them.”
In 2016, Holcomb won the governorship as a pro-life candidate to succeed Vice President Mike Pence. Last April, he also signed legislation strengthening Indiana’s parental consent requirements for minors seeking abortions.
Both bills will begin taking effect on July 1.