CHICAGO — Indiana’s governor signed a bill on Thursday that adds broad limits to women’s access to abortions, banning those motivated solely by the mother’s objection to the fetus’s race, gender or disability, and placing new restrictions on doctors.
The law, which passed both chambers of the Republican-controlled General Assembly with large majorities, builds on Indiana’s already restrictive abortion rules, and was cheered by anti-abortion groups that had encouraged Gov. Mike Pence to sign it.
“We are pleased that our state values life no matter an individual’s potential disability, gender or race,” Mike Fichter, president and chief executive of Indiana Right to life, said in a statement. “We also believe that the other measures in the bill are positive steps forward for providing dignity and compassion.”
The bill is among several limiting abortion that have passed conservative legislatures in recent years, but the sheer number of restrictions in Indiana’s legislation made it distinct.
In addition to holding doctors liable if a woman has an abortion solely because of objections to the fetus’s race, sex or a disability, like Down Syndrome, the law restricts fetal tissue donation and requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital or to have an agreement with a doctor who does.
“Seeing them all in one place, that is very striking,” said Dawn Johnsen, an Indiana University law professor who has been an abortion rights advocate. “It’s like the kitchen sink: Everything that isn’t already in the law. And the law is already really restrictive.”
Mr. Pence, a Republican, said he signed the bill because he thinks “that a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable — the aged, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn.”
The bill, he said in his signing statement, “will ensure the dignified final treatment of the unborn and prohibits abortions that are based only on the unborn child’s sex, race, color, national origin, ancestry or disability, including Down syndrome.”
He added, “Some of my most precious moments as governor have been with families of children with disabilities, especially those raising children with Down syndrome.”
The measure drew a sharp rebuke from the Planned parenthood action fund and other abortion rights groups, and the law returned Indiana to the center of a national debate about social issues.
Last year, Mr. Pence signed a religious objections bill perceived by many as antigay, prompting some corporations to threaten to stop doing business in Indiana unless the law was changed. Within days, Mr. Pence signed a so-called fix to that law saying that it did not allow discrimination.
Mr. Pence, who had been seen before the religious objections episode as a possible presidential contender, was widely criticized for his handling of the matter. In its aftermath, his political stock plummeted, and he is currently engaged in a re-election race that many expect to be close.
Thursday was Mr. Pence’s deadline to act on the abortion bill, and he waited until late in the day to announce his decision.
Some abortion rights advocates said that portions of the law could be challenged in court. State Representative Linda Lawson, a Democrat who opposed the measure, said the new law came close to an effective ban on abortions in the state.
“They’ve been on a mission, the Republicans in the Indiana General Assembly, to make sure that affordable health care and abortion is no longer available for women in the state of Indiana,” said Ms. Lawson, who suggested that the law was most likely to affect poor women who might not be able to travel to other states to seek abortions.
The law could also put some doctors who perform abortions in jeopardy if it is learned that a woman told them that she chose to end her pregnancy because of gender, disabilities or other reasons limited by the law.
Many of the provisions in the Indiana law have been enacted previously in at least one other state. Arizona also bans abortion on the basis of race, and North Dakota has outlawed abortions performed because the fetus has a disability.
Professor Johnsen said the Indiana legislation was “a clear attempt to interfere and harm and chill doctors’ willingness to perform abortions.”
But Dr. Christina Francis, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Fort Wayne, Ind., who works with anti-abortion groups, said that it stopped far short of a ban, and that “a woman can still procure an abortion just because she wants to.”