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Indiana law prohibits nearly all abortions with few exceptions: NPR


Protesters march past the Indiana State Capitol building on July 25, 2022 in Indianapolis as activists gathered in a special session.

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Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Indiana law prohibits nearly all abortions with few exceptions: NPR

Protesters march past the Indiana State Capitol building on July 25, 2022 in Indianapolis as activists gathered in a special session.

Jon Cherry/Getty Images

The first new abortion ban passed by a state legislature since the overthrow of Roe vs. Wade this summer is scheduled to take effect Thursday in Indiana.

Indiana lawmakers passed a law banning most abortions during a special session in early August. It includes narrow exceptions for rape, incest, and certain serious medical complications and emergencies.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, a Republican, released a statement shortly after lawmakers approved the bill saying he was signing it as part of a promise he had made “to support legislation that has made progress in protecting life”. Holcomb said the law includes “carefully negotiated exceptions to deal with some of the unthinkable circumstances that a woman or an unborn child might face.”

Reproductive rights groups including the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and others are challenging the Indiana law in state court. A hearing in the case is set for September 19, four days after the law took effect.

At this time, state abortion providers will not be able to offer the procedure in most situations. In a statement, Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend said it would be forced to stop offering abortions, but would continue to operate its clinic there to provide “support to anyone seeking abortion services , and to continue her activism and organizing to roll back cruel and unjust treatment.” anti-abortion laws. »

The group also noted that affiliates in several other states, including neighboring Illinois, will continue to offer medical abortions where pills are legal and help patients travel for abortions.

The ban will affect patients far beyond Indiana, said Tamarra Wieder, state director of Planned Parenthood in neighboring Kentucky, where there is currently no access to abortion due to two laws. anti-abortion laws that came into effect after the Supreme Court decision. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June. The decision removed decades of precedent guaranteeing the right to abortion and opened the door for states to ban the procedure.

Wieder said Indiana was the closest option for most of his abortion patients. Many will now have to go to Illinois.

“It’s really going to double or even triple the driving time for Kentucky residents seeking abortion care,” Wieder said.

Indiana became a center of controversy surrounding abortion rights in the days following the Dobbs decision after Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an OBGYN from Indiana, spoke about providing an abortion for a 10-year-old girl from Ohio who had become pregnant as a result of rape. The girl was denied an abortion after her home state’s so-called “trigger ban”, which does not include an exception for rape, came into effect due to the ruling.

In response, Republican Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita questioned Bernard’s credibility and threatened to investigate her, publicly suggesting without evidence that she had failed to report the proceedings. The state then released documents confirming that Bernard had filed the report. Bernard said she was subjected to threats and other forms of harassment as a result of the attention brought to the matter.

The Indiana law takes effect as West Virginia moves closer to enacting its own new abortion ban. After failing to agree on a bill in several special sessions in recent weeks, West Virginia lawmakers approved a proposal in a brief special session on Tuesday. It bans most abortions, with some exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and certain medical complications, and would become law as soon as Governor Jim Justice signs it.

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