The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Indiana just banned abortion if the fetus has Down syndrome

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed a controversial abortion bill Thursday that, among other things, would ban the procedure if it is sought because the fetus was diagnosed with a disability or defect such as Down syndrome.

Shortly before his deadline to act on the sweeping measure, Pence called the law “a comprehensive pro-life measure that affirms the value of all human life,” according to the Associated Press.

The law, which was passed by the legislature earlier this month, would make Indiana the second state in the nation, after North Dakota, to ban abortion in cases where a fetal anomaly is detected. It also would bar the procedure in instances where the decision is based on the sex or race of the fetus. And it could make Indiana the first state in the country to require that fetal remains be buried or cremated, rather than treated like medical waste.

Among the critics of the measure were several Republican women in the state House, who said they considered themselves “pro-life” but thought this bill went too far. Still, the signing of the law by Pence — a staunch opponent of abortion who is in a tight race for reelection — was fully expected.

Pence’s Democratic opponent in the gubernatorial race, John Gregg, quickly reacted to the signing. “While I am personally pro-life, this legislation was not well thought out or properly vetted,” he said in a statement. “If I was in the legislature I would have voted against it, and if I were governor today, I would have vetoed it.”