Indiana a Leader in Preventing Discriminatory Down Syndrome Abortions

August 18, 2017

Most Hoosiers share the common belief that all lives should be treated with dignity. We recognize our shared humanity cuts across race, sex, disability or the number of chromosomes we have.

Unfortunately, Hoosier values aren’t a given. Take the recent turmoil in Charlottesville. Or the CBS News feature on the extermination of those with Down syndrome in Iceland.

We’re calling the targeting of unborn babies who likely have Down syndrome for abortion, “extermination.” But CBS News’ spin on this targeting is that Iceland is simply “eliminating” Down syndrome. As if aborting these unborn babies can be compared to preventing polio through a vaccine.

We can’t wipe out a whole class of people and then pat ourselves on the back for their extinction. We as a human race must be better than this. We can celebrate our differences. We can learn from one another. We can love and lift one another up.

Indiana has taken a stand against discrimination. Last year, the state legislature, with the signature of now Vice President Mike Pence, passed the Dignity for the Unborn law. This law said that an unborn child can’t be aborted because of his or her race, sex, national origin or a potential disability, like Down syndrome. We were the first state in the nation to pass this type of ground-breaking legislation, offering civil rights protections for the unborn.

This is what rejecting hate looks like. It’s saying, “a child shouldn’t lose his life because he’s black.” It’s saying, “a child doesn’t have to die because she’s a girl.” It’s saying, “a child mustn’t be aborted because the father has a national origin different from the mother.” It’s saying, “a child doesn’t deserve a death sentence because she might have Down syndrome.”

Sadly, not even all Hoosiers can love and accept that those unborn lives have value and worth. Planned Parenthood and their allies at the American Civil Liberties Union sued over the Dignity for the Unborn law. They found a sympathetic judge willing to allow babies to be targeted for abortion because of their sex, race and potential disability. So, targeted abortions continue to be legal.

The court battle over the Dignity for the Unborn law is far from over.

In the meantime, we do well to consider what Iceland has done by stripping the value and worth from every human life with Down syndrome. They have encouraged mothers to issue a death sentence to their own offspring. They have exterminated all the joy and happiness that those with Down syndrome bring to their families and communities. They have made a sad statement about life.

Next time you see a mom in the store with her Down syndrome child, or a man with Down syndrome cheering on your hometown team, greet them with a smile. Every life deserves dignity. A little love can go a long way.

Statement on Merrillville Planned Parenthood Resuming Abortions

August 1, 2017

MERRILLVILLE, IND. – Indiana Right to Life President and CEO, Mike Fichter, issued the following statement upon learning the Merrillville Planned Parenthood facility is resuming abortions after complying with Indiana’s hospital admitting privilege law by finding a local doctor willing to serve as back-up in case of medical emergencies:

“We are disappointed to learn a doctor in the Merrillville area is willing to prop up Planned Parenthood’s abortion business by serving as a state-required back-up physician with admitting privileges. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky’s annual reports show all procedure categories are declining except abortion, so we’re not surprised Planned Parenthood would quickly find a back-up doctor to protect its lucrative abortion business. In 2016, Merrillville’s Planned Parenthood was the second busiest abortion facility in the state, doing 1,278 abortions.

“Indiana Right to Life is pleased the Indiana State Department of Health made sure the state’s admitting privilege law was being followed, and we expect them to continue doing so at Indiana’s six licensed abortion facilities. Hospital admitting privilege laws exist to ensure a woman facing a medical crisis is aided in the most expedient manner possible. Indiana Right to Life will continue to advocate for life-saving laws. We will also remain vigilant to ensure state laws are being followed by every member of the abortion industry.”

The Indiana State Department of Health is prohibited from releasing the back-up doctor’s name by state law.

Learn about Merrillville Planned Parenthood’s suspension of abortions in Indiana Right to Life’s Jul. 24 press release:

Indiana Right to Life’s mission is to protect the right to life, especially of unborn children, through positive education, compassionate advocacy and promotion of healthy alternatives to abortion.



Admitting Privilege Law Forces Merrillville Planned Parenthood to Suspend Abortions

July 24, 2017

Indiana Law Requires Abortion Doctors to Have Admitting Privileges or a Relationship with a Doctor Who Does

MERRILLVILLE, IND. – The Planned Parenthood facility in Merrillville, Ind. has been forced to suspend abortion procedures after losing its back-up doctor with admitting privileges as required by Indiana law.

Abortion doctors must maintain admitting privileges at a local hospital or have a relationship with a local doctor who can admit patients to a hospital in the same county or a surrounding county to the abortion facility. Admitting privilege laws give continuity of care for a patient in the case of a medical emergency.

In a letter dated Jul. 18, the Indiana Department of Health (ISDH) informed the Merrillville Planned Parenthood that it is prohibited from doing abortions until it finds a new back-up doctor and the appropriate paperwork is filed with the ISDH to certify the relationship between the local doctor and the abortion facility.

Indiana Right to Life is not aware of why the previous back-up doctor for Merrillville Planned Parenthood terminated his or her relationship with the facility.

“We’re pleased to see Indiana’s admitting privilege law being followed and enforced,” stated Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “Admitting privilege laws are health and safety measures. In case of an emergency, admitting privileges ensure a woman is aided in the most expedient manner possible. Admitting privileges can make a life or death difference when minutes matter.

“One of Merrillville’s abortion doctors is Mandy Gittler. One only has to look back at Gittler’s record as recently as 2012 to see how quickly emergencies can arise during abortion procedures. In July 2012, Gittler did an abortion on a 24-year-old woman, Tonya Reaves, at a Chicago Planned Parenthood. According to court documents and news reports, Gittler sent Reaves to the hospital following her abortion, where the young woman was later pronounced dead in the operating room. An autopsy by the local medical examiner determined Reaves’ death was due to a perforated uterus.

“We urge any woman considering abortion in Northwest Indiana to contact one of the area’s many pregnancy resource centers. Many of these centers offer free support, including ultrasound services. We believe as long as Planned Parenthood in Merrillville is prohibited from doing abortions, more local women will choose life for their unborn children.”


Indiana Right to Life’s mission is to protect the right to life, especially of unborn children, through positive education, compassionate advocacy and promotion of healthy alternatives to abortion.




AG Hill Appeals Judge’s Ruling that Favors Planned Parenthood

July 18, 2017

AG Curtis Hill

We learned late Friday that Attorney General Curtis Hill appealed the preliminary injunction of Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 404, and we are thrilled!

On June 28, a federal judge, Sarah Evans Barker, issued a preliminary injunction against portions of SEA 404 in a case brought by Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union. SEA 404 is a new parental rights law designed to give parents more rights if their minor daughter seeks an abortion.

We told the Indianapolis Star:

“SEA 404 is a common-sense law that recognizes the role of parents in their minor daughters’ health,” she said. “Attorney General Curtis Hill is willing to fight Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union’s constant attempt to block abortion-related laws. We extend our appreciation to AG Hill.”

We expected AG Hill’s appeal after he issued a strong pro-life statement following Barker’s June ruling:

“The challenge of this law is nothing more than an attempt to give courts rather than parents the legal guardianship of children. When an unemancipated minor undergoes even the most basic medical procedures, the involvement of a parent or legal guardian is typically required. However, for the time being, Wednesday’s injunction essentially encourages a minor to go it alone through the emotionally and physically overwhelming procedure of aborting a human being. We will always support the authority of parents to know what is going on with their children and continue to defend Hoosier parents,” Hill said.

“This law already enables judges to determine that some minors could have extenuating circumstances in their relationships with their parents that make notification unwise or unsafe. In these instances, judges have full authority to waive the notification of parents. By requiring minors to notify their parents, Senate Enrolled Act 404 increases the likelihood that minors will go through this process with the support and guidance needed.”

Pro-life Hoosiers are pleased that AG Hill is on the side of parents who deserve to be involved in their minor daughters’ health and wellbeing.


Substantial Indiana Abortion Rate Drop Makes for Eight Consecutive Years of Drops

July 6, 2017

Despite 8.5 Percent Statewide Abortion Rate Drop, Planned Parenthood Aborted More Children in 2016 than 2015

INDIANAPOLIS – New data from the Indiana State Department of Health’s (ISDH) annual abortion report shows that Indiana’s 2016 abortion rate dropped 8.5 percent from 2015. In 2016, there were 7,277 abortions, compared to 7,957 abortions in 2015. Indiana’s abortion rate has declined for eight consecutive years.

An analysis of the report by Indiana Right to Life found:

  • Planned Parenthood continues to increase its abortion numbers and its market share of Indiana’s abortion industry. While the abortion rate declined nationally and in Indiana, Planned Parenthood did 1.3 percent more abortions in 2016 than in 2015. Planned Parenthood did 73 percent of all 2016 abortions in Indiana. Planned Parenthood in Bloomington increased its abortions in 2016 by 23.6 percent, compared with 2015 abortion numbers at the same facility.
  • Chemical abortions procedures, a drug combination of Mifepristone and Misoprostol, decreased in 2016 from 2015. In 2016, chemical abortions accounted for 26 percent of abortion procedures, or 1,919 abortions. The most common procedure type in 2016 was suction curettage at 5,327 procedures, or 73 percent.
  • 2016 was the first year since 1978 that Women’s Pavilion in St. Joseph County did no abortions. Women’s Pavilion’s longtime abortion operator, Ulrich Klopfer, suspended abortions in 2015 following violations and had his medical license indefinitely suspended in 2016.
  • The abortion rate in Indiana has dropped for eight consecutive years. Abortions have dropped more than 33 percent since 2008; there were 3,642 fewer abortions in 2016 than in 2008. Indiana’s all-time high number of abortions was 16,505 in 1980.

“The pro-life policies set forth by then-Gov. Mike Pence and pro-life leaders in the General Assembly made a life over death difference for Hoosier women and children in 2016,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “Indiana’s informed consent laws, including a 2016 private counseling provision in the Dignity for the Unborn law, are giving women accurate information about human development and abortion risks, and resources available for parenting and adoption. Real Alternatives, Indiana’s pregnancy and parenting support services program established by then-Gov. Pence, is empowering women to choose life.

“We project abortion numbers would have dropped even further if the ban on abortions because of the child’s gender, race or disability in the 2016 Dignity for the Unborn law had taken effect. Even though Planned Parenthood has temporarily blocked that ban in the courts, we believe the public discussion on civil rights protections has shown the humanity of the unborn and led women to choose life. Former Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill have aggressively fought the court challenges by Planned Parenthood and we predict Indiana’s common-sense abortion laws will eventually be allowed to stand.

“The closure of Women’s Pavilion in South Bend, Ind. helped to bring Indiana’s abortion numbers down. That closure was the direct result of state officials enforcing health and safety regulations on the books and watchdogs ensuring women’s health was not compromised by an abortion doctor more concerned with profit than safety. Indiana Right to Life will continue to ensure all abortion facilities and doctors are following Indiana’s abortion laws.

“The 2016 abortion data also confirms that Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky remains focused on abortion. The abortion rate has dropped nationally and in Indiana, yet Planned Parenthood has found a way to convince more women to end their pregnancies in 2016 than in 2015. All procedures at Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky have drastically dropped over the last decade, except abortions, which continue to rise.

“Indiana Right to Life remains committed to our mission to end abortion. Last year 7,277 women in Indiana turned to abortion. That is 7,277 too many. We will continue to promote life through education and positive alternatives to abortions so that every child is given a birthday.”

The ISDH report is available here.

Indiana Right to Life’s mission is to protect the right to life, especially of unborn children, through positive education, compassionate advocacy and promotion of healthy alternatives to abortion.





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