US Supreme Court Roe v. Indiana on Friday became the first state in the nation to approve abortion restrictions after overturning Wade, as the Republican governor soon signed a blanket ban on the procedure shortly after lawmakers approved it.
The ban, which will come into effect from September 15, includes some exceptions. Abortion is permitted in cases of rape and intercourse before 10-weeks post-fertilization; To protect the life and physical health of the mother; And if the fetus is diagnosed with a fatal anomaly. Rape and rape victims are not required to sign a notarized affidavit attesting to the assault, as once proposed.
Under the bill, abortions can only be performed in hospitals or hospital-owned outpatient centers, meaning all abortion clinics would lose their licenses. Doctors who perform illegal abortions or fail to file required reports could also lose their medical licenses — tightening current Indiana law that says doctors can lose their licenses.
“I am personally extremely proud of every Hoosier who has courageously stepped forward to share their views in a debate that is not likely to stop anytime soon,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a statement announcing he had signed the measure. “For my part as your governor, I will continue to keep an open ear.
His approval came after the Senate approved the ban 28-19 and the House passed it 62-38.
Indiana was among the first Republican-run state legislatures to debate tougher abortion laws after a Supreme Court ruling in June stripped constitutional protections for the procedure. But on July 29, West Virginia became the first state to pass a ban through both chambers after lawmakers missed a chance to become that state.
“Glad to be done with this, one of the more challenging things we’ve done as a state General Assembly, at least certainly while I’ve been here,” Senate President Pro-Tem Roderick Bray told reporters after the vote. “I think it’s a huge opportunity, and we’ll build on it as we go forward from here.”
Sen. of LaGrange, who sponsored the bill. Sue Glick said she doesn’t think “all the states will fall in the same place” but that most Indiana residents support aspects of the bill.
Some senators in both parties lamented the bill’s provisions and their impact on the state, including low-income women and the health care system. Eight Republicans and all 11 Democrats voted against the bill, though their reasons for blocking the measure were mixed.
“We’re retreating from democracy,” said Democratic Sen. Jean Breux of Indianapolis, who wore a green ribbon Friday to signify support for abortion rights. “What other liberties, what other liberties are on the chopping block, waiting to be taken away?”
Republican Sen. of Michigan Shores. Mike Bohasek talked about his 21-year-old daughter with Down syndrome. Bohasek voted against the bill, saying it did not adequately protect disabled women who had been raped.
“If she loses her favorite stuffed animal, she won’t be relieved. Imagine making her carry a baby,” he said before starting to gasp, then tossing his notes on his seat and exiting the chamber.
Republican Sen. of Indianapolis. Mike Young, however, said the bill’s enforcement provisions against doctors were not tough enough.
Such debates showcased Indiana residents’ own divisions on the issue, as demonstrated in hours of testimony heard by lawmakers over the past two weeks. Residents rarely, if ever, expressed support for the legislation in their testimony, with abortion-rights supporters saying the bill goes too far, while anti-abortion activists say it doesn’t go far enough.
The debates come amid an evolving landscape of abortion politics across the country as Republicans face some party divisions and Democrats look to a possible election-year boost.
Rep. Wendy McNamara, Republican of Evansville, who sponsored the House bill, told reporters after the House vote that the legislation would “make Indiana one of the most pro-life states in the nation.”
Outside the chambers, abortion-rights activists often booed the legislators’ remarks, carrying signs such as “Ro ro ro ro your vote” and “Build this wall” between church and state. Some House Democrats wore blazers over pink “Bans of Our Bodies” T-shirts.
Indiana’s ban followed a political firestorm over a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled to the state from neighboring Ohio to terminate her pregnancy. The case gained attention when an Indianapolis doctor said the baby came to Indiana because of Ohio’s “fetal heartbeat” ban.
Religion was a constant theme during legislative debates in residents’ testimony and legislators’ comments.
While advocating against the House bill, Rep. Ann Vermillion also condemned Republicans for calling women “murderers” for seeking abortions.
“I think the Lord’s promise is for grace and mercy,” he said. “He doesn’t jump to condemn these women.”