Abortion-rights supporters crowded the halls of the Indiana Statehouse throughout the day as lawmakers voted, some holding signs that read “You can only ban safe abortions” and “The abortion is health care. Moments after the vote, some protesters hugged and others stood stunned before the crowd erupted in chanting “We won’t stop”.
‘Not her body, not her choice’: Indiana lawmakers on abortion ban
In a statement released after the bill was signed, Holcomb said he had “clearly stated” after the fall of deer that he would be willing to support anti-abortion legislation. He also pointed to the “carefully negotiated” exceptions in the law, which he said deal with “some of the unthinkable circumstances that a woman or an unborn child might face.”
Before deciding on the exceptions, Republican lawmakers disagreed on the scope of the law, with some GOP members siding with Democrats in demanding that abortion be legal in cases of rape and incest.
The vote followed days of citizen testimony and sometimes heated debate. “Sir, I’m not a murderer,” Rep. Renee Pack (D) said in the chamber after Rep. John Jacob (R), a staunch opponent of abortion who wanted rape exceptions scrapped, described the proceedings as murder.
Abortion is now prohibited in these states. See where the laws have changed.
Abortion rights organizations were quick to rebuke Friday’s decision. Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the vote “was cruel and will prove devastating to pregnant women and their families in Indiana and across the region.” “Hoosiers didn’t want that,” Johnson said.
In a statement, the anti-abortion group Indiana Right to Life opposed the exceptions and said the new law did not go far enough in reducing access to abortion.
Push from Republicans in Indiana to restrict access to abortion stands in stark contrast to overwhelming support from voters in Kansas, where a bid to remove abortion protections was defeated this week in another traditionally conservative state. . The victory is likely to bolster Democratic Party hopes that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade energize voters ahead of the midterm elections.
In Indiana, Democratic lawmakers described the Kansas vote as a warning to fellow Republicans to consider potential voter fallout.
Kansans categorically reject amendment to restrict abortion rights
Unlike many of its predominantly conservative neighboring states in the Midwest, Indiana had no “trigger law” on the books that would immediately ban abortion when deer was overthrown. Because the procedure was legal in the state for up to 22 weeks, Indiana became the destination for many people seeking to terminate their pregnancies.
Cutting this “critical access point” can force people to travel “hundreds of miles or carry pregnancies against their will,” the American Civil Liberties Union said.
More recently, a 10-year-old rape victim had to travel to Indianapolis for an abortion after being denied one in her home state of Ohio. The case sparked outrage among abortion-rights supporters, was criticized by President Biden and garnered international attention.
The OB/GYN who provided the care, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, was subjected to threats and harassment. Her legal team plans to file a libel suit against the Indiana attorney general, whose office is investigating how the abortion case was handled.
Kim Bellware and Ellen Francis contributed to this report.