INDIANAPOLIS — Leaders of the Republican-dominated Indiana Senate proposed Wednesday ban abortion with limited exceptions, a move that comes amid a political firestorm over a 10 year old rape victim who came to the state from neighboring Ohio to terminate her pregnancy.
The proposal will be taken up during a special legislative session that is scheduled to begin Monday, making Indiana one of the first Republican-controlled states in debate stronger abortion laws after the United States Supreme Court decision last month that overturned Roe vs. Wade. The Supreme Court ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in about half of the states.
Indiana’s proposal would allow exceptions to the ban, such as in cases of rape, incest or to protect a woman’s life.
Republican state Sen. Sue Glick, who is sponsoring the bill, said the proposal would not limit access to emergency contraception known as the morning-after pill, nor would it prevent doctors from treating miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies.
The bill would ban abortions from the moment an egg is implanted in a woman’s uterus.
“Being pro-life is not about criminalizing women,” Glick commented. “It’s about preserving the dignity of life and helping mothers bring happy, healthy new babies into the world,” she added.
The Planned Parenthood affiliate in Indiana criticized the bill, saying in a press release that “a total abortion ban is on the way to Indiana.”
“Even the bill’s limited exemptions would leave providers risking investigations and even criminalization, making them exceptions in name only,” said the organization, which operates four abortion clinics in the state.
Ohio’s so-called fetal heartbeat law, which bans abortions after heart activity can be detected, usually around the sixth week of pregnancy, prompted the 10-year-old rape victim to go to Indiana to undergo a medication-induced abortion on June 30, according to the girl’s doctor.
Indiana Republicans have pushed numerous anti-abortion laws over the past decade, and the vast majority signed a letter in March supporting a special session to further toughen those laws. But legislative leaders and Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb had said nothing since the Supreme Court’s decision on whether to push for an outright abortion ban or allow exceptions.
The proposal presented on Wednesday faces at least a couple of weeks of debate. House Speaker Todd Huston, a Republican, did not endorse the bill, saying in a statement that “our caucus will take some time to review and consider the details of the Senate bill, and will continue to listen to feedback.” and input from voters across the state.”
Current Indiana law generally prohibits abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and strictly restricts it after the 13th week. Nearly 99% of abortions in the state last year were performed at or before 13 weeks, according to a State Department of Health report.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court, arguing that Georgia’s restrictive 2019 abortion law should be allowed to go into effect. The law bans most abortions once a “detectable human heartbeat” is present, though it does include some narrow exceptions.
The appeals court also rejected arguments that a “personality” provision in the law is unconstitutionally vague. The provision gives the fetus the same legal rights that people have after birth.
Meanwhile, in Michigan, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday vetoed parts of a state budget proposal that would have sent nearly $20 million in state funds to anti-abortion causes, including groups that run “pregnancy resource centers” focused on abortion. persuade pregnant women to give birth.
Before Indiana lawmakers announced their proposal, the leader of the state’s most prominent anti-abortion group told reporters that the group would push lawmakers to push a bill “that affirms the value of all life, including children.” unborn,” without answering questions about whether there were acceptable exceptions.
Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter said the vast majority of Indiana lawmakers “have campaigned pro-life, run multiple election cycles pro-life.”
“This is not the time lawmakers should be drafting legislation that looks like Roe v. Wade is still in place,” Fichter said. “Roe is no longer in his place. The Roe shield is no longer there.”