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MAURER: Returning abortion to back alleys

April 9, 2016

Mickey MaurerForty–three years ago, the Supreme Court rendered an opinion making abortion legal in the United States. Testimony was led by doctors who wanted the deaths and enduring medical effects of illegal abortion to stop. Roe v. Wade made it safe to elect this procedure, but it was by no means the beginning of women choosing to end their pregnancies. That has occurred since time immemorial.

Roe v. Wade has been hailed as a landmark decision. As with other landmark decisions, refinements have been made over the years. What is occurring in Indiana, however, cannot be described as refined.

 Deep within the netherworld of the Indiana conservative movement there arose a diabolical plan—a con game worthy of Billie Sol Estes or Professor Harold Hill—a plan to eviscerate Roe v. Wade. While acknowledging a woman’s right to an abortion, the right-wing-controlled Indiana Legislature placed so many barriers and restrictions on this activity that when the hapless patient figures it all out the unplanned child will be distributing leaflets at anti-Planned Parenthood rallies.

Prior to the passage of this latest affront to Hoosiers, Indiana had already boasted one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation—we ranked in the bottom four when it comes to access to this safe, legal, and constitutionally protected medical procedure. We can also lay claim to being unfriendly to immigrants and the LGBT community. If this right-wing cabal continues with its war on immigrants, homosexuals and women, our country will consist of 49 states and one caliphate.

Many fear that pregnancies in Indiana will now be terminated in back alleys by unqualified and probably unsafe practitioners or by desperate women who take matters into their own hands with possible catastrophic results. I read about this growing up. Is Indiana in a time warp?

The law also imposes stiff criminal penalties on physicians for providing women with the care that they need—the care doctors were taught to give in medical school. Not to worry—the legislation is loaded with unintended consequences and glaring violations to our Constitution. Planned Parenthood on April 7 filed a federal lawsuit asking a court to block the measure before its effective date in July. The whole episode is just another pathetic waste of time and money. But until that is sorted out, doctors, it might not be a bad idea to add a Canadian passport to your personal papers.

 Who are these flim-flammers? The bill was co-authored by an insurance executive, a respiratory therapist and a General Motors employee. A cursory review of the testimony did not unearth a single positive response to the bill from the OBGYN community. In fact, two dozen of these specialists wrote to the governor imploring him to veto the legislation.

 Perhaps with this latest incursion there is a developing mutiny. Gubernatorial candidate John Gregg, a pro-lifer, said he would not have voted for the bill and would have vetoed it. A number of pro-life Republican women in the Legislature expressed their grave concerns by voting against the legislation.

 This cockeyed law is disrespectful to women and their relationship with their doctors.  It is disrespectful to taxpayers who will have to foot the bill to confirm its unconstitutionality, and it is disrespectful to the Constitution and the clear direction of Roe v. Wade. In fact, it is disrespectful to the majority of Hoosiers who bow their heads in shame over the despicable behavior of our leaders.

 I recall the words of candidate Ronald Reagan in the 1980 debate with President Jimmy Carter. Reagan’s famous line, “There you go again,” is apropos. 

Gov. Pence, your enthusiastic support of the Religious Freedom bill cost our state millions of dollars, made a mockery of Hoosier hospitality and subjected our state to international ridicule. 

Well, there you go again.•

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Maurer is a shareholder in IBJ Corp., which owns Indianapolis Business Journal.  His column appears every other week. To comment on this column, send e-mail to mmaurer@ibj.com.

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