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Is This New Law a Step Toward Outlawing Abortion?

A new Indiana law could provoke steps for lawmakers to reconsider legal abortion. (Moke076 via Flickr)

A new law will allow Indiana prosecutors to charge a person with killing an unborn child. SB 203 was signed into law by Governor Eric Holcomb on Sunday and allows prosecutors to seek a charge of murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and feticide if the unborn child is killed in any stage of development.

The law will take effect in July and provides, with certain exceptions, that a person who commits a felony that causes the termination of a pregnancy may receive an additional sentence of six to 20 years. Offenses do not apply to abortion.

Currently, Indiana law says those who kill an unborn child can only be charged if the baby could have lived outside the womb.

Senator Aaron Freeman, a former Marion County homicide prosecutor, drafted the bill. Freeman proposed SB 203 after hearing from a woman in his district whose 11-week pregnant daughter was killed in a homicide. The woman was frustrated that the killer could not be tried for the death of her granddaughter and sent 150 letters, including one to each member of the Indiana state legislature. The new law will not apply to her daughter's case but suspects will face consequences in the future in similar incidents.

"We commend these Indiana legislators for choosing to recognize the personhood of an unborn child," said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. "The day will come when the law protects the life of an unborn child killed by abortion. It makes no sense that a mother can decide to keep or kill her child. We must make the womb a safe place again, and the passage of SB 203 is a positive step in that direction."

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