Abortion rights supporters crowded the corridors of the Indiana Statehouse all day as lawmakers cast their votes, some holding signs that read “You can only ban safe abortions” and “Abortion is health care.” Moments after the vote, some protesters hugged and others stood stunned before the crowd erupted into chants of “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 roe that he would be willing to support anti-abortion legislation. He also highlighted the “carefully negotiated” exceptions in the law, which he said cover “some of the unthinkable circumstances a woman or unborn child may face”.
Before settling the exceptions, Republican lawmakers disagreed on how far the law should go, with some GOP members siding with Democrats by demanding abortion be legal in rape and incest cases.
The vote followed days of citizen testimonies and sometimes heated debate. “Sir, I’m not a murderer,” said Rep. Renee Pack (D) in the room after Rep. John Jacob (R), a staunch abortionist who wanted to remove rape exceptions, described the procedure as murder.
Abortion is now banned in these states. See where laws have changed.
Abortion rights groups were quick to criticize Friday’s decision. Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the vote was “cruel and will prove devastating to pregnant people and their families in Indiana and across the region.” “Hoosiers didn’t want this,” Johnson said.
In a statement, anti-abortion group Indiana Right to Life opposed the exceptions, saying the new law did not go far enough to reduce access to abortion.
Indiana Republicans’ push to restrict access to abortion stands in stark contrast to overwhelming voter support in Kansas, where a bid to repeal abortion protections was voted down this week in another traditionally conservative state. That victory is likely to bolster the Democratic Party’s hopes that the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade will energize voters in the run-up to the midterm elections.
In Indiana, Democratic lawmakers described the Kansas vote as a warning to their Republican colleagues to consider the potential impact of voters.
Kansans firmly rejects amendment aimed at limiting abortion rights
Unlike many of its mostly conservative Midwestern neighbors, Indiana had no “trigger law” on the books that would immediately ban abortion when roe was overthrown. Since the procedure was legal in the state for up to 22 weeks, Indiana became the go-to destination for many wishing to terminate their pregnancies.
Cutting off this “critical entry point” can: forcing people to travel “hundreds of miles or carry pregnancies against their will,” said the American Civil Liberties Union.
Most recently, a 10-year-old raped girl had to travel to Indianapolis for an abortion after being denied an abortion in her home state of Ohio. The case sparked outrage among abortion rights advocates, was criticized by President Biden and attracted international attention.
The OB/GYN who provided the care, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, has faced threats and intimidation. Her legal team is investigating a defamation charge against the Indiana Attorney General, whose office is investigating how the abortion case was handled.
Kim Bellware and Ellen Francis contributed to this report.