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Indiana Lawmakers Seek Dramatic Restrictions On Abortion

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An opponent and a supporter of abortion rights demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. (Credit: AP)

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INDIANAPOLIS (CBS) – State lawmakers in Indiana are working to enact some of the highest abortion restrictions in the country.

Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled state General Assembly are working toward making Indiana among the states with the earliest stage of pregnancy in which abortions would be illegal, and requiring women to be told in writing that they could face a greater risk of infertility and breast cancer if they have abortions.

The law would also require women undergoing abortions be told that life begins at conception, and that a fetus might feel pain at or before 20 weeks.

Indiana State Rep. Eric Turner (R-Cicero), a sponsor of the bill, tells The Associated Press he hopes the bill would make Indiana one of the “most pro-life states in the country” and would achieve the goal of having “less abortion in the state.”

The bill cleared the state House of Representatives 72-23 late last month, and a similar bill passed 39-9 in February. A state Senate committee is expected to discuss advancing the House bill ahead of an April 29 deadline.

The bill would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy unless there is a substantial threat to the woman’s life or health. Nebraska and North Carolina are the only other states with laws that restrictive.

Abortion rights supporters say the proposed restrictions would harm women and their doctor-patient relationship. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana calls it “an unprecedented assault on the right of Hoosier women to control their own fertility.”

“If successful, these purely political efforts to restrict access to reproductive health care would devastate low-income and uninsured Hoosiers who rely on Planned Parenthood of Indiana for exams, Pap tests, STD screening and treatment and family planning information,” Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana says on its Web site.

But abortion rights groups have been able to do little to block the legislation.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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