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Sen. Mike Gaskill stands tough on anti-abortion

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

State Sen. Mike Gaskill had to pause and regain composure as he talked about House Enrolled Act 1211 concerning “dismemberment” abortion.

“We had a lot of debate on that,” Gaskill told those attending a recent Henry County GOP meeting. “There’s an abortion procedure that has been allowed in Indiana and other places as well that’s a dismemberment abortion. I wasn’t on the committee this bill went before but I sat in the audience and listened because I wanted to hear the testimony before it got to the full Senate. It was just gut-wrenching to think that an abortion procedure was allowed where once the baby was too big to be aborted in other methods, they would cut the arms, legs and head off.” 

At that point, Gaskill stopped, clearly fighting off his emotions.

“Sorry,” he said. “Republicans and Democrats can disagree on things but how do you argue the other side of that?”

Gaskill – who just completed his first session representing District 26, which includes Fall Creek, Jefferson, Prairie, Stoney Creek and Blue River townships in Northern Henry County – recalled one particular day when a pro-abortion lobbying group came to see him.

They were angry with him about his support of the bill.

“They unloaded on me and I just sat and listened,” Gaskill said. 

Then, Gaskill was polite, but direct with the group.

“Based on how you feel about that issue, my advice to you is rather than trying to change my mind, you should recruit a candidate in District 26 who supports your point of view because I’m not going to change,” Gaskill said. 

Then, again struggling for composure, Gaskill told the GOP group “I’d rather be drug out on the street and set on fire than to allow something like that.”

Abortion has been a hot-button political topic for years, but Gaskill said there is evidence across the country that it will become even more headline-making in the months to come.

A state law passed last month in Ohio would prohibit abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Gaskill told the audience they could expect to see more efforts in the future at limiting abortion – even outlawing it altogether.

State Rep. Tom Saunders, who was at Gaskill’s Henry GOP presentation, agreed.

“The mindset out there with the Supreme Court set up the way it is, they want to challenge Roe vs. Wade,” Saunders said.

Another pro-life bill that passed in the recent Indiana General Assembly offered protections for medical personnel who refuse to offer abortion services because of their own personal beliefs.

“As I understand it, prior to Senate Enrolled Act 201, there was an ability in the law for a doctor or a hospital employee, a list of people who could say they were conscientious objectors to participating in abortions and they couldn’t be fired for that,” Gaskill said. “This expanded that ability to be a conscientious objector to pharmacists, nurses and physician assistants, because some of those people wouldn’t have fit into the list prior to this law.”

Gaskill said the legislation passed “handily.”

“Sen. Liz Brown (Fort Wayne) spearheaded the bill,” Gaskill said. “She’s an attorney. I get the sense that there’s pretty good legal ground on these and that they will withstand any challenges.”