- The state’s nearly total abortion ban was signed into law late Friday by Gov. Eric Holcomb, after passing through the Indiana General Assembly.
- The law prohibits abortion except in cases of rape, adultery, fatal fetal anomaly, and when the life of the pregnant person is at risk.
- Republicans tried to eliminate the exceptions, but failed. The law will come into effect from September 15.
Indiana has approved a nearly total ban on abortion that will take effect on September 15, Roe v. The latest domino to fall is the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Wade and let states set their own rules.
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced late Friday that he had signed the measure, known as Senate Bill 1, within an hour of its passage, setting off a marathon day in which both chambers passed a bill outlawing abortion with a few narrow exceptions.
“In the wake of overturning Roe, I made it clear that I would be willing to support legislation that made progress in protecting life,” Holcomb said. General Assembly with a solid majority of support.”
The Biden administration on Saturday slammed the adoption of the ban, with White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre describing it as a “disastrous step.” Earlier in the week, President Biden signed an executive order supporting individuals traveling out of state for abortions.
“It’s another radical move by Republican lawmakers to take away women’s reproductive rights and freedoms and put personal health care decisions in the hands of politicians instead of women and their doctors,” she said. “Yesterday’s vote, which establishes a nearly complete abortion ban in Indiana, should be a signal to Americans across the country to make their voices heard. Congress must also act immediately to pass legislation to restore RoA’s protections — the only way to protect nationally A woman’s right to choose.”
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Late Friday, the Indiana Senate voted 28-19 to approve a nearly total ban that the House had previously passed — the first legislature in the country to pass such restrictions since the Supreme Court overturned Roe in June.
“It makes Indiana one of the most pro-life states in the nation,” Rep. said Wendy McNamara, R-Evansville.
The bill passed the House 62-38 on Friday afternoon. The chamber’s 71 Republicans were split, with nine voting against the bill. The party is divided on the issue with some feeling the bill goes too far in restricting abortion and others feeling it doesn’t go far enough.
McNamara carried the bill in the House. She said on Friday that the bill aims to strengthen security for women and children. Most Republicans wanted to see a stronger bill, without exceptions for rape and adultery, but ultimately settled for what they could pass.
“Ultimately, they’re looking at an opportunity to eliminate 99% of abortions in the state of Indiana one way or another,” she said after Friday’s vote.
No Democrats voted in favor of the bill.
Because the soft-spoken chaplain of the House led the chamber in a call to open Friday on the final day of a two-week special legislative session — called to pass fiscal relief but co-opted to ban abortion after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision in late June. – A small but vocal contingent of abortion-rights protesters nearly drowned out her appeal to God with chants of “ban our bodies.”
The crowd of protesters flocking to the Statehouse has shrunk significantly since the abortion debate began last week. A dozen or so people holding signs watched the proceedings through large windows at the back of the House chamber, and another dozen or so, including some anti-abortion activists, dotted the viewing gallery.
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All of them were likely disappointed by the bill passed on Friday, which bans abortion except for rape, adultery, fatal fetal anomalies and when the life of the pregnant person is in danger.
The Legislature passed the bill despite polls showing that a majority of Hoosiers support at least some access to abortion.
Anti-abortion groups have opposed SB 1 because it would still allow abortions in a few cases. Last week, Indiana Right to Life said it “hasn’t waited 50 years for a complete reversal of Roe v. Wade.”
On Thursday night, a majority of Republicans in the House tried to eliminate exceptions to the abortion ban in cases of rape and adultery. That effort failed, as it did in the Senate last week.
Rap. John Jacobs, R-Indianapolis, is one of the chamber’s most extreme anti-abortion opponents and supported a failed attempt to turn the bill into a blanket abortion ban without exception. On the floor Friday, Jacobs said he would vote against SB 1 because “it’s a weak, pathetic bill that still allows the killing of children.” Jacobs lost his Republican primary race in May.
Jacob’s comments angered at least one of his fellow lawmakers.
Rap. Rep. Renee Peck, D-Indianapolis, told the chamber that she had an abortion while serving in the Army in 1990 at Fort Hood in central Texas. Peck was married and already a mother of two children. She said she had to choose between having another child or continuing her military career.
“After everything I’ve been through in my life … I had to get to the Statehouse to have my colleagues call me a murderer,” Peck said, raising his voice. “Sir, I’m not a murderer. And neither are my sisters. We’re pro-choice. That’s what we are… We believe we have power over our own bodies.”
Last week, the Indianapolis business community joined a long list of organizations — including every major medical association — to oppose the legislation, fearing the economic impact such a ban would have on the state. Already, one major event has said she is “very disturbed” by the proposal. David Hope, president of General Con, a large annual tabletop gaming convention, said Wednesday that if the state passes SB 1, it will “make it more difficult for us to remain committed to Indiana as our long-term annual home.”
Visit Indy said conventions and major trade shows have been reached out “to clarify what’s happening with the bill and how it’s moving forward.”
Some GOP lawmakers voted for the bill even though it was not perfect. Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne, said she knew some would be disappointed that the bill does not prevent every abortion. Still, Brown said it’s a good place to start.
“I know what we’re doing today is just the beginning,” Brown said. “Our actions today will save many lives.”