Indiana adopts restrictive abortion law, prompting economic fallout


Indiana’s new sweeping abortion ban caused immediate political and economic repercussions on Saturday as some of the state’s biggest employers objected to the restrictions, Democratic leaders devised strategies to change or repeal the law, and abortion rights activists planned to arrange alternative locations for women seeking procedures.

The Indiana law, which the Republican-controlled state legislature passed late Friday night and signed moments later, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R), was the first state ban passed since the US Supreme Court passed the law. Roe v. Wade in June and was celebrated as a major victory by abortion enemies.

On August 5, Indiana lawmakers passed a nearly complete ban on abortion. The bill was signed by Governor Eric Holcomb (R). (Video: The Washington Post)

It also came just three days after voters in traditionally conservative Kansas took the political world by surprise with: take a completely different path and reject a ballot measure that would have removed the protection of abortion rights from that state’s constitution.

The Indiana vote capped weeks of fraught debate in Indianapolis, as activists demonstrated outside the Capitol and conducted intense lobbying campaigns as Republican lawmakers debated how far the law should go in restricting abortion. Some abortion enemies hailed the bill’s passage as a roadmap for conservatives in other states who imposed similar bans in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on roewho had guaranteed the right to abortion care for the past 50 years.

The Indiana ban, which goes into effect Sept. 15, allows abortion only in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal abnormalities or when the procedure is necessary to avoid serious health risks or death. Indiana joins nine other states that have abortion bans from conception.

The new law represents a victory for anti-abortion forces, who have been working for decades to stop the procedure. But passage took place after disagreements between some abortion enemies, some of whom felt the bill didn’t go far enough to stop the proceedings.

After the legislation was signed into law, Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical giant and one of the state’s largest employers, warned that such laws would hurt employee recruitment efforts and said the company would seek its expansion plans elsewhere.

“We are concerned that this law will hinder Lilly’s and Indiana’s ability to attract diverse scientific, technical and business talent from around the world,” the company said in a statement released Saturday. “Given this new law, we will be forced to plan for more employment growth outside of our own state.”

See where abortion laws have changed

Salesforce, the tech giant with 2,300 employees in Indiana, had previously offered to relocate employees to states with abortion restrictions, though it did not respond Saturday to a request for comment on the Indiana law.

The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce also warned that the ban was passed too quickly and without considering the impact on the state’s tourism industry.

“Such an accelerated legislative process — rushing to advance state policy on broad, complex issues — is harmful at best to Hoosiers and reckless at worst,” the chamber said in a statement, asking: “Will the Indy region to continue to attract investment in tourism and conferences?”

Indiana lost 12 conventions and an estimated $60 million in cases after it passed a religious freedom law in 2015, according to an estimate by the local tourism industry.

Indiana becomes first state to ban abortion by law since Supreme Court overturned decision in June Roe to Wade. Other states have enacted “trigger laws” that came into effect with the fall of Roe.

Indiana may be just the beginning. Abortion rights advocates estimate that abortion could be severely restricted or banned in as many as half of the 50 states.

An official for Indiana Right to Life, an anti-abortion group in Indiana, said the new law will end 95 percent of abortions in Indiana and close all abortion clinics in Indiana.” unless abortion activists go to court and get a pre-ban.

Indiana has considered abortion restrictions for years, although it remained a state where many traveled in the region for abortion care. With many nearby states — including Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia — also pushing for abortion bans, in some cases patients must travel hundreds of miles for care, said Elizabeth Nash, a policy expert at the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights. “Patients in Ohio will not be able to go to Indiana for access. They may have to go to Illinois or Michigan,” she said.

The Indiana measure’s approval came weeks after national attention turned to a 10-year-old girl who was raped in Ohio, where abortion is banned after six weeks, and traveled to Indiana to terminate the pregnancy.

Caitlin Bernard, the doctor who performed the abortion in Indianapolis, tweeted Saturday that she was “devastated” by the lawmaker’s action. “How many girls and women will get hurt before they realize this needs to be reversed? I will continue to fight for them with every fiber of my being,” she wrote.

Doctors are reluctant to work in anti-abortion states

The Indiana measure was swiftly condemned by national Democrats, who sought to label Republicans extreme on abortion — citing the Kansas vote earlier this week, where even rural, conservative parts of the state are changing the constitutional right of the state. rejects abortion.

The law is “another radical move by Republican lawmakers to take away women’s reproductive rights and freedom,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

However, Democrats are hopeful that they can use what happened in Indiana to brand the entire Republican party as extreme on abortion.

“This has nothing to do with being ‘pro-life’,” California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) tweeted. “It’s about power and control.”

In Washington, Republican leaders have been largely silent on Republican-led states to ban abortion. Polls consistently show that near-total abortion bans like those in Indiana are unpopular with the general public.

So when Republicans in Indiana outlaw abortion for a whole state, “in effect, they are speaking for all Republicans,” said Martha McKenna, a Democratic political strategist, “and so I hope November is a good thing for Democrats.”

Another political strategist, Jonathan Levy, who worked on the Kansans For Constitutional Freedom campaign, which opposes restricting abortion rights, said the Kansas vote showed extreme anti-abortion positions “will be rejected by Americans across the political spectrum.” “The American people want lawmakers to focus on how to keep food on the table and keep the economy afloat. They think the lawmakers’ priorities are wrong,” he said.

In addition to the near-total abortion ban, Indiana’s Republicans have also passed legislation they say was designed to support pregnant women and mothers, but critics pointed out that much of the money went toward supporting pregnancy crisis centers run by anti-pregnant women. -abortion groups.

The bill’s adoption left health care providers and abortion consultancies struggling to understand the full impact of the legislation.

Indiana University Health, a leading health care provider in the state, released a statement saying it was trying to figure out what the ban meant for its doctors and patients.

“We will take time in the coming weeks to fully understand the terms of the new law and to incorporate changes in our medical practice to protect our health care providers and care for people seeking reproductive health,” the health care provider said in a statement. declaration.

Meanwhile, activists began discussing plans to raise money and provide transportation those seeking access to abortion after the ban goes into effect, said Carol McCord, a former employee at Planned Parenthood.

“As this will soon become illegal in Indiana, we are looking for ways to help women travel to get the services they need,” she said. Indiana’s law was already considered restrictive compared to other states, so about 35 percent of women who wanted abortions had already traveled out of the state, said Jessica Marchbank, who serves as state programs for the All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center in Bloomington.

Democratic state legislators began to devise strategies Saturday on how to respond, including considering repeal measures and organizing voters to elect lawmakers who support abortion rights.

“This is a dark time for Indiana,” said Senator Shelli Yoder, assistant chairman of the Democratic caucus. “The plan going forward is to make sure we get out in November and vote out those who supported something that only a small minority of Hoosiers wanted.”

Immediately, Yoder said in an interview that she and like-minded state lawmakers are considering measures that could reverse the impact of the new law, noting that the legislature has not been formally adjourned.

“We can come back to fix this,” she said, adding that lawmakers are in the early stages of planning how to do that.

Katie Blair, the advocacy and director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Indiana, said Saturday that her organization will investigate legal action.

“You can guarantee that our legal team will work with partners to evaluate all legal means available to defend access to abortion here in Indiana,” Blair said in a statement.

In signing the legislation, Holcomb praised the work of lawmakers he called into special session this summer to find a way to limit abortion, and acknowledged the differences of opinion among those who opposed abortion.

“These actions followed long days of hearings filled with sobering and personal testimony from citizens and elected representatives on this emotional and complex subject,” the governor said in a statement. “Ultimately, those voices shaped and informed the ultimate content of the legislation and the carefully negotiated exceptions to address some of the unimaginable circumstances a woman or unborn child could face.”

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