Indiana lawmakers looking to ban most abortions in the state debate new assistance for pregnant women

Indiana lawmakers on the verge of banning most abortions in the state are now debating new assistance for pregnant women.

A state senate committee approved a measure that includes additional care for both before and after babies are born, and covers long-lasting, reversible contraception for new mothers.

The Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee heard a series of witnesses, one of which quoted a survey from the 1980s of several hundred women who'd had abortions.

"Those women said if one person would've helped them they wouldn't have had the abortion," testified Kevin Baggata, President and Chief Executive of Real Alternatives. 

He said Real Alternatives hopes to expand the 21 sites it now operates across Indiana.

Four are run in conjunction with Catholic charities. 

Addressing the Indiana General Assembly’s Republican, pro-life supermajority, Baggata added, "If you serve more women, you're lowering abortion because they have that comprehensive network and support."

The Nurse Family Partnership Program for first-time mothers is also in line for more funding at a cost of about $6,000 per family.

It assists first-time mothers from the time they learn they’re pregnant through their first child's second birthday.  


Independent studies found positive results.

"This evidence demonstrates a return on investment (dollars) for Indiana of eight to one," said Betsy Delgado, Senior VP of Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana.

Others urged lawmakers to do more to help women through the burdens of pregnancy.

"Consider a tax credit for employers who give reasonable pregnancy accommodations to help those employers help those women; as well as a tax credit for employers who give paid family leave," said Angela Espada, Executive Director of the Indiana Catholic Conference.

Hoosier lawmakers said negotiations were continuing over details of Indiana's proposed abortion ban. 

Also hanging in the balance? How much help to provide for mothers and babies.  

Both the House and Senate are scheduled to reconvene Thursday in Indianapolis.