Indiana becomes first US state to approve abortion ban after Roe

Indiana has become the first state in the United States to pass new legislation restricting access to abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade.

The ban, which comes into effect on September 12, includes some exceptions. Abortions would be allowed in cases of rape and incest, before 10 weeks after fertilization; protect the life and physical health of the mother; and if a fetus is diagnosed with a fatal abnormality.

Victims of rape and incest would not be required to sign a notarized affidavit attesting to an assault, as previously proposed in the Senate.

Under the bill, abortions can only be performed in hospitals or hospital-owned outpatient centers, meaning all abortion clinics would lose their license. A doctor who performs an illegal abortion or fails to file required reports must also lose their medical license — language that tightens Indiana’s current law that says a doctor “may” lose their license.

Indiana Tax RefundRepublican Ann Vermilion argued against the abortion ban in the House (Arleigh Rodgers/AP)

“I am personally very proud of every Hoosier who has come forward to courageously share their perspective in a debate that is not expected to end anytime soon,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said in the statement announcing he had signed the measure.

“For my part as your governor, I will continue to keep an ear open.”

His approval came after the Indiana Senate approved the ban 28-19 and House members advanced it 62-38.

Indiana was among the first Republican-led state legislatures to debate tougher abortion laws after the Supreme Court’s ruling in June that removed constitutional protections for the procedure. But it is the first state to pass a ban by both houses, after West Virginia lawmakers passed up July 29 the chance to be that state.

“Glad to be done with this, one of the hardest things we’ve ever done as a State General Assembly, at least certainly since I’ve been here,” said Senate Speaker Pro -Tem Rodric Bray, to journalists after the vote.

“I think it’s a huge opportunity, and we’re going to capitalize on it as we move forward from here.”

Some senators from both parties lamented the provisions of the bill and the impact it would have on the state, including low-income women and the health care system. Eight Republicans joined 11 Democrats in voting against the bill, though their reasons for thwarting the measure were mixed.

“We are going backwards on democracy,” said Democratic Senator Jean Breaux of Indianapolis, who wore a green ribbon on her lapel Friday signifying her support for abortion rights.

Indiana AbortionProtesters stand outside the House chamber ahead of the vote (Jenna Watson/The Indianapolis Star via AP)

“What other freedoms, what other freedoms are on the chopping block, waiting to be stripped?”

Republican Senator Mike Bohacek of Michiana Shores spoke about his 21-year-old daughter, who has Down syndrome. Bohacek voted against the bill, saying it failed to provide adequate protections for disabled women who are raped.

“If she lost her favorite stuffed animal, she would be inconsolable. Imagine having her carry a child to term,” he said before starting to choke, then threw his notes on his seat and left the bedroom.

Republican Sen. Mike Young of Indianapolis, however, said the bill’s enforcement provisions against doctors are not strong enough.

Such debates have demonstrated Indiana residents’ own divisions on the issue, on display in hours of testimony heard by lawmakers over the past two weeks.

Residents on all sides of the issue rarely, if ever, supported the legislation, as abortion-rights supporters said the bill went too far while anti-abortion activists said it didn’t go far enough.

The debates unfolded amid an evolving landscape of abortion politics across the country as Republicans grapple with some party splits and Democrats see a possible election-year boost.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: