I-Team 8

Senate panel ends testimony Indiana abortion measure, advances amended bill

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Several hundred people signed up Monday to testify for and against the Indiana Senate’s proposed abortion bill at a committee during during the legislative special session.

The chairman on Monday night extended testimony from 30-40 minutes, and on Tuesday also offered a few extra minutes. Other sent comments via email. In the end, about 200 people were turned away from giving in-person testimony on Tuesday.

One woman, near the front of the line of those who didn’t get to testify, was not pleased, and voiced her feelings. An Indiana State Police trooper escorted her to the door and out of the Statehouse.

The committee later voted 7-5 to advance a bill banning most abortion procedures in the state. The committee added these amendments:

  • Girls under the age of 16 can get abortions in the case of rape or incest up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Girls and women over the age of 16 can get abortions in the case of rape or incest up to eight weeks of pregnancy.
  • Girls and women claiming rape or incest would have to sign an affidavit for their medical file.

The committee defeated amendments including one that would allow abortion by telemedicine and another that would grant child support and tax deductions for fetuses.

More amendments are likely with the full Senate hearing the measure on Thursday.

Before the vote, the second day of testimony inside the Senate chamber brought emotions from both sides of the issue.

Barry Atwell believes lawmakers need to make Indiana’s abortion law one of the strictest in the country. He said Tuesday, “There were a group of people out there yesterday chanting ‘Vote them out, vote them out,’ but the fact is that most of those people didn’t vote you in,. The people that have voted you in are the people who stand for life and want you to stand for life, and you have committed for standing for life but you have not done it.” 

The voice that caught the attention of many on the committee was that of 17-year-old Isabel Zollner, a student from Lafayette. She said, “I know that no matter what testimony I give today it isn’t going to change the minds of those of you determined to strip my human rights away. No matter what terrifying accounts I bring to the table, no matter statistics I read to you, nothing is going to change your minds because, to some of you, I’m just a girl that doesn’t deserve a say in what happens to her today.”  

John Pernell told the committee his ex-wife had an abortion 20 years ago. Though the procedure was legal, he says it changed his life and not for the better. “There is a common misconception that abortion has no impact on the father. We are told it is her body and her choice and, although I felt that way initially, I soon realized that I had been misinformed. If someone would have been there to tell me the emotional effect a man would experience, I think it would have impacted my choice. I idol watch while our baby was aborted.”