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Government / IPBS

Bill headed to Indiana Senate that criminalizes coerced abortion

Legislation headed to the Indiana Senate criminalizes those who coerce people into having an abortion.

Doing so is likely already a crime under existing laws. But Rep. Joanna King’s (R-Middlebury) bill, HB 1217, creates a new, specific crime against coerced abortion.

“This bill is straightforward and sets a series of events in place that could help rescue a woman from sexual coercion and even save her life,” King said.

The bill says if abortion care providers even suspect a person is being coerced, they must immediately call the police, who then must immediately investigate.

READ MORE: Indiana lawmakers holding off on major anti-abortion bills until after Supreme Court rules

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Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington) worries the bill doesn’t allow health care providers to use "finesse" in determining the best way to keep their patient safe.

“Whether you like it or not, this is going to be reported. Law enforcement's going to be on it," Pierce said. "And if you think this might result in the person coercing you really coming after you – because they’re not just going to go out and arrest that person and put them in jail. They’re going to have to find some probable cause; I’m sure the person will deny it. And then, I think, bad things will happen.”

In a statement, Planned Parenthood called the bill “redundant and unnecessary.” It said the measure is only meant to further stigmatize abortion.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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