Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill into law Thursday making Indiana the second state to ban abortions because of fetal genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome. It's due to take effect in July, but Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky says it will ask a court to block the measure before that can happen. Pence called the bill "a comprehensive pro-life measure": In addition to banning abortions due to fetal genetic abnormalities, the law will prohibit abortions done because of a fetus's race, sex, or ancestry and mandates the only way to dispose of an aborted fetus is through burial or cremation. It is unclear what impact, if any, the restrictions will actually have on abortions, as women could cite other reasons—or not give any—for seeking an abortion, reports the AP.
Under the measure, doctors who perform forbidden abortions could be sued for wrongful death or face discipline from the state medical licensing board; women receiving such abortions wouldn't face punishment. Critics in Indiana question whether the measure is constitutional, and even GOP House Speaker Brian Bosma says he expects a court challenge. Critics say the measure would require pregnant women to endure complicated pregnancies that pose a danger to their health and would lead women to not speak candidly with their doctors. North Dakota adopted similar restrictions under a 2013 law approved by that state's Republican-led Legislature. (Read more abortion stories.)