Updated: Thursday, 09 Dec 2010, 8:07 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 09 Dec 2010, 7:48 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Look for a battle over new restrictions on abortion when Indiana lawmakers return to the Statehouse after the first of the year.
A letter from state Senator Greg Walker (R-Columbus) and state Representative Wes Culver (R-Goshen) went out to all 150 members of the General Assembly. It calls for action in 2011 on five new measures that would all restrict abortion.
New abortion restrictions in Nebraska have prompted a noted abortion doctor there to make plans for an Indianapolis clinic. Dr. LeRoy Carhart announced the plans in November. They prompted state Senator Greg Walker to call for new abortion restrictions here.
"He has always advocated for late-term abortions," says Senator Walker, "and I don't believe that is good for the safety of the citizens of Indiana."
Walker also wants to end taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood while Indiana President Betty Cockrum says the senator is misguided about both what her agency does and what Dr. Carhart plans.
"He intends to have a full service reproductive health care facility," says Cockrum, "and he will perform first trimester abortions."
It's part of the debate that is likely to occupy state lawmakers beginning in January. but Betty Cockrum already expects that it will produce changes in Indiana abortion law.
"If I were a betting person I'd say there will be legislation passed that erects further barriers," she says.
And if that happens, it will be the result of the Republican takeover in the Indiana House.
"I think we have identified in prior sessions," says Walker, "that there is a lot of support on both sides of the aisle for these ideas and there's been a bottleneck in the system that's been removed."
This all comes at a time when the governor has called for a truce on social issues and legislative leaders have expressed higher priorities. Sen. Walker says lawmakers can multi-task and the governor's spokesperson says that if something comes to his desk he will consider it then.
A Galaxy far, far away is calling Indianapolis home for the next three months. …