A US politician's suggestion that women might lie about rape and incest in order to get an abortion has resulted in controversy, and a video of his remarks has gone viral on YouTube.
Eric Turner, a Republican state representative in Indiana, made the remarks this week, during debate about an amendment to an anti-abortion bill.
The bill would make abortions illegal after 20 weeks, unless they are done to save the woman's life. Current Indiana law prohibits abortions after viability, which is determined by the doctor as being around 24 weeks. The amendment which had been proposed would have added exceptions for rape and incest.
"I just want you to think about this, in my view, giant loophole that could be created where someone who could - I want to be careful, I don't want to disparage in any way someone who has gone through the experience of a rape or incest - but someone who is desirous of an abortion could simply say that they've been raped or there's incest," Turner said during the debate.
He added that he feels abortion coverage of any kind should not be part of the federal health care act.
Democratic state Rep. Linda Lawson, who had been a sex crimes investigator for six years, then spoke about working with victims of sex crimes.
"They don't make it up," she said, almost in tears. "Then, they have to go to court. They have to stand in a courtroom and they have to face the person who did this to them. Women don't make this up!"
Turner's spokesman told the New York Daily News that the politician later apologized
The amendment, which had been proposed by Democratic Rep. Gail Riecken, was voted down 54 to 42 and the House voted 72-23 in favour of the bill, reported the Huffington Post.
"It is our responsibility to protect the unborn," the Indianapolis Star quoted Turner as saying "I hope with this legislation, women will be able to make a more informed decision about their pregnancy, and I hope ultimately we'll have fewer abortions in this state."
A similar measure has passed the state Senate. Gov. Mitch Daniels can decide to sign, pass without signing, or veto any version which reaches his desk.
Right to Life President and Chief Executive Mike Fichter said the bill provides women with better information about abortion. It requires the Indiana State Department of Health post information about fetal development and abortion on its website, and that women be told the procedure involves a risk of breast cancer.
The Republican National Coalition for Life says studies indicate there is a connection between abortion and breast cancer, but American Cancer Society studies dispute this.
"It is alarming to watch lawmakers vote against medically accurate information," Betty Cockrum, president of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, told the Indianapolis Star. "We have all these lay persons who are writing scripts into Indiana law and mandating that doctors read them to their patients when they're not fact-based. . . . It has no place in public health."
An amendment by Rep. Peggy Welch, a nurse who supports the bill, to strike the breast cancer provision, was voted down.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana said that 97 per cent of abortions in the state are done before 13 weeks.