Keep your politics out of my uterus

Introduction of House Enrolled Act 1337 causes drastic changes to abortion services in Indiana.


Paige Thompson, Co-Editor-in-Chief

On Thursday, March 24, Governor Mike Pence signed House Enrolled Act [HEA] 1337 in Indiana, effective on July 1.

Referred to as one of the most strict abortion bills in the nation, HEA 1337 has destroyed women’s control over their bodies in our state.

According to NUVO, an Indianapolis-based newspaper, HEA 1337 “mandates the remains of a terminated pregnancy — whether it was the result of an abortion or a miscarriage — be provided a burial or cremation of what is often no more than a small clump of cell tissue.”

Acts like this have caused the U.S. to take back too many of the steps forward, such as Roe vs. Wade and Casey vs. Planned Parenthood, women have made for control of our bodies. How is it 2016 and yet we’re still dealing with this?

In the past,  women who had an abortion or miscarriage could decide whether or not they wanted to take the remains with them for burial or cremation. If they decided against it, the facility would take care of remains and dispose of them as medical waste.

With the introduction of HEA 1337, though a woman is not required to take the fetus with her, the provider is now tasked with taking care of the remains, but not by disposing it as medical waste. They are now required to have them interred or cremated, thus leaving financial responsibility and burden up to the healthcare provider which could cause an increase in the fees for abortion services.

In Indiana, only four out of 92 counties provide abortion services. Four. Meaning most women in Indiana have to drive miles out of her way to another county for an abortion.

In addition, NUVO reports that HEA 1337 goes even farther by punishing healthcare providers who “knowingly perform an abortion if it was sought due to a fetal abnormality or disability.”

Basically what that means is if a woman were to seek an abortion for this reason, she couldn’t, instead forced to carry the fetus to full-term, with the likelihood of a poor quality of life because of serious developmental issues. Something that could have been avoided. What kind of life is that for a child, and the mother?

Mother Jones tells the story of Dana Weinstein, a mother who chose to have an abortion at 29 weeks, after a sonogram revealed that her unborn child’s brain had not properly developed. The result would be critical health and mental problems for the child, if it were to survive.

According to the article, Weinstein fears what could happen if Republican legislators are successful in banning abortions after 20 weeks.

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump had the following to say about abortion in a recent interview with MSNBC:

“There has to be some form of punishment [for women who get abortions],” according to the New York Times.

However, just hours later, Trump attempted to either take back or cover up what he said.

“The doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman,” he said.

Once again, Trump, who has recently revealed himself to be a five year old, proves that he has no idea what he thinks. Shocking.

MSNBC reports Trump has no clue what kind of ‘punishment’ women would have to face if they were to obtain an abortion. His response was that he has “not determined what the punishment would be.” Just like all of his other ideas.

But wait, the fun doesn’t stop at the punishment of healthcare providers. HEA 1337 also requires women to view the ultrasound and listen to the heartbeat. Then, wait an additional 18 hours before being able to undergo the procedure.

As if the decision to have an abortion wasn’t difficult enough, you would then have to wait an additional day to undergo the actual procedure.

After the act’s passing, facilities that perform abortions and/or provide services for women who want abortions, such as Planned Parenthood, will now be forced to implement the new provisions required by HEA 1337.

NUVO reports staff at Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky are looking at and working through the potential changes.

Patti Staffer, vice president of public policy, strategy and compliance for Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky was quoted in a recent article about the organization’s response to HEA 1337 on the NUVO website.

Staffer said PP does not usually question an individual about motives for the procedure, and that they are concerned with the level of judgement the act would be injecting into a legal medical procedure.

“This is a form of governmental intrusion into the privacy of women. It is forcing conversations between physicians and a woman at a time when she should be able to have a very open and honest conversation with her healthcare provider,” Staffer said. “I think that is very dangerous when you start going down the path of trying to get inside the head of a woman and dictating reasons that may or may not be valid for her to seek what is a legal medical procedure.”

NUVO’s continuous coverage of the act includes the true stories of women who have received an abortion or experienced a miscarriage. Naomi Rae Wolsieffer, who had experienced three miscarriages in her lifetime before submitting her story, writes about the most painful of the three during which she was in a relationship with the emotionally abusive father.

When she went to the hospital, she was not aware they would not terminate her pregnancy even after seeing the heartbeat slow down on the sonogram, and she was sent home.

Though she was in her second trimester, it was clear the child wouldn’t live, she writes. Because of this, Wolsieffer was left to have the miscarriage over the toilet in the bathroom at the father’s home instead of somewhere safe. She explains that, had this act been enforced during this pregnancy, there would have been much more added stress, pain, and monetary strain.

Wolsieffer is not the only woman who has experienced such a story. And with this law, she won’t be the last.