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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Editorial: Those pesky social issues

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Thursday, March 16, 2017 05:01 am
The press is certainly fascinated with keeping track of how many of those nasty social issues are being brought up in this year’s legislative session. “Republicans who control Indiana’s Statehouse said they wanted a break from divisive social issues that embroiled the Legislature in recent years,” The Associated Press reported last week. “But with the session half over, it appears what lawmakers are actually taking a break from is their plan to steer clear of social issues.”

And now The Indianapolis Star wonders what Gov. Eric Holcomb will do if one of those “hot button” social issues ends up as a bill on his desk: “He made it clear during his campaign he is allied with social conservatives on issues such as abortion. But he also signaled a more nuanced approach.”

Dear, dear. Will they or won’t they? Will he or won’t he? All of us pragmatists, who just want the roads paved and the teachers paid and don’t want to hear any of that nonsense about values, are just dying to know.

For the record, three of those hot-button issues have passed one house and await action by the other.

House Bill 1128 would require abortion providers to give a woman seeking a drug-induced abortion a state-created information sheet about medical professionals who can aid in the “possible reversal” of the abortion pill process.

Senate Bill 404 would give the parent or guardian of a pregnant minor the right to attend and testify at hearings where the minor is seeking court permission for an abortion without parental consent.

Senate Bill 1024 would explicitly allow students to pray aloud at school and codify formally the religious rights courts have already been allowing.

Interestingly, people on both sides of the “social issues” question pooh-pooh the importance of the bills. Critics say they go too far and try to fix problems that aren’t really there. Only about 20 girls a year, for example, seek abortions without their parents’ knowledge or consent. Supporters say the bills barely break new ground so aren’t really worth a big fight.

But let us duly note the occasion if the legislature approves them and Gov. Holcomb signs them, so we can mutter in disapproval that they have all lost their way.

And ignore Senate President  Pro Tem Long, who reminds us that legislative leaders decided to really focus “on other issues this year,” but it “was never going to be a, ‘No, we’re not hearing any social issues’ rule.” 



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