INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A pro-life group in Indiana is expressing disappointment after the Republican chair of the House Committee on Public Policy, who likewise identifies as pro-life, has again allowed the hearing deadline to pass for a bill that would have outlawed abortion in the state, thus killing the measure for the third time.
“Although he campaigned as ‘pro-life,’ Ben Smaltz has proven himself to be hostile to the unborn, betraying his pre-born neighbors and pro-life voters for the third year in a row,” opined Amy Schlichter of Hoosiers for Life in an email to supporters. “[O]ur ‘pro-life’ legislators are not representing us well.”
As previously reported, Rep. Curt Nisly, R-Goshen, announced in January that he had filed House Bill 1430, also known as the “Protection of Life” and the “Protection at Conception” bill, in the legislature.
According to a synopsis of the measure, the legislation “asserts a compelling state interest in protecting human physical life from the moment that human physical life begins,” and “redefines ‘human being’ for the purposes of the criminal code to conform to the finding that human physical life begins when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm.”
It also nixes language in state statutes pertaining to the allowance and the regulation of abortion in Indiana.
When Nisly similarly filed the legislation last year, he elucidated that the purpose of the bill is “to bring the Roe v. Wade era to its logical conclusion” and “to deregulate abortion right out of existence in Indiana.”
However, Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, who chairs the House Committee on Public Policy, disagrees with the approach behind the measure and has not allowed it to be heard for the past three years.
The Journal Gazette reported in 2017 that Smaltz “couldn’t get past the fact that there were no exemptions for abortion in the case of rape, incest and saving the mother’s life.”
“If my wife is on the table and the government comes in and says ‘no,’ there’s going to be a fight,” he told the outlet.
As previously reported, a number of doctors and nurses have spoken out against the assertion that abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother, as if a situation arises, the doctor will simply perform a Cesarean section and deliver the baby early. There is no need to kill the child in the process, they state.
Several women who have been raped, such as Jennifer Christie-Brierly, have also been vocal in their stance that abortion is not the answer to the trauma as the woman “does not need violence on top of violence, tragedy on top of tragedy.”
In January, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, was asked by reporters if he believed that a pro-life bill would move through the legislature this session. After replying in the affirmative, a reporter asked, “Are you talking about the Nisly bill?”
“No,” Bosma said, generating laughter. “I’m talking about one that has some constitutional legs.”
Schlichter says that her organization will continue working to outlaw abortion in Indiana despite opposition to the measure.
“Unborn babies have a God given right to live, and I will not stop putting pressure on Indiana lawmakers to do their jobs and protect them at conception,” she stated. “Smaltz might’ve killed the bill—again—but, I’m not willing to settle for the crumbs Indiana politicians are throwing at us.”
Last March, the Indiana Right to Life Political Action Committee (PAC) endorsed Smaltz’s reelection bid, stating, “During his time as state representative, Ben Smaltz has compiled a 100 percent pro-life voting record, supporting some of most leading edge pro-life legislation in the nation. This record includes support for the historic Dignity for the Unborn Act, passed in 2016, that includes civil rights protections for unborn children based on race, gender, national origin, disability or Down syndrome.”
“Most importantly, because of the legislation Ben Smaltz has supported over the years, the number of children killed by abortion in Indiana has dropped for eight straight years. In 2016 alone, there were 3,642 fewer babies killed by abortion compared to 2008. Indiana Right to Life is committed to seeing that number drop to zero, and we know Ben Smaltz shares that commitment.”
Hoosiers for Life contests Indiana Right to Life’s characterization of the abortion rate, noting that the figures are again on the increase as 7,778 abortions were carried out in the state in 2017, compared to 7,280 in 2016.
View the latest report from the Indiana Department of Health here.