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Post-Viability Abortion Restriction

Indiana's post-viability abortion restriction states that no abortion may be provided after viability or 20 weeks gestational age, whichever is earlier, unless necessary to prevent a "substantial permanent impairment of the life or physical health" of the woman.  Unless an increased risk to the woman's life or health would result, the physician must take all reasonable steps to preserve the life and health of the fetus consistent with the procedure used and keeping with good medical practice, and a second physician must attend.  Ind. Code Ann. §§ 16-34-2-1(a)(3) (Enacted 1973; Recodified 1993; Last Amended 2011), 16-34-2-3(b) (Enacted 1973; Recodified 1993; Last Amended 2011).

NARAL Pro-Choice America supports the legal framework established in Roe v. Wade and does not oppose restrictions on post-viability abortions so long as they contain adequate exceptions to protect the woman's life and health.  NARAL Pro-Choice America opposes Indiana's post-viability restriction because the health exception is dangerously narrow.  NARAL Pro-Choice America also opposes this law because it is unconstitutional to the extent that it prohibits pre-viability abortion by conflating viability with the 20-week marker.  A state may not prohibit abortion prior to viability, which is that point at which a fetus is capable of "meaningful life" outside of a woman's body.  Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 163 (1973).  Because viability varies with each pregnancy, states may not declare that it occurs at a particular gestational age.  Colautti v. Franklin, 439 U.S. 379, 388-89 (1979).

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