Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill into law Thursday that imposes additional restrictions on abortions.
House Enrolled Act 1337 prohibits women from seeking abortions based on race, gender and possible fetal abnormalities. Indiana is the second state in the nation after North Dakota to impose such restrictions.
The new law also requires a woman to view an ultrasound of the fetus and hear its heartbeat 18 hours before she can obtain the procedure.
“By enacting this legislation, we take an important step in protecting the unborn, while still providing an exception for the life of the mother,” Pence said in a press release. “I sign this legislation with a prayer that God would continue to bless these precious children, mothers and families.”
While supporters of the measure say the bill will be used to prevent abortions based on disabilities like Down syndrome, pro-abortion rights advocates say the bill’s language is vague enough to prohibit abortions of fetuses that cannot survive past birth.
“Throughout my public career, I have stood for the sanctity of life,” Pence said in a press release. “HEA 1337 is a comprehensive pro-life measure that affirms the value of all human life, which is why I signed it into law today.”
In addition to limiting the reasons for which women can seek abortions, the new law criminalizes the transfer of fetal tissue and requires abortion providers to bury or cremate all fetal remains.
Before the law’s passage, fetal tissue disposal was regulated by the same laws as other types of medical waste.
“I believe that a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable — the aged, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn,” Pence said in a press release.