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Indiana was the country’s first state after the fall of Roe v. Wade, who passed sweeping restrictions on access to abortions after Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed legislation Friday that is a near-total ban on the procedure.
The Republican-dominated state Senate approved the law on Friday 28-19 in a vote that came just hours after it was passed by the Indiana lower chamber. The law, which goes into effect September 15, allows abortions only in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal abnormality, or when the procedure is necessary to prevent serious health risks or death.
Pro-choice advocates crowded the corridors of the Indiana Statehouse throughout the day as lawmakers cast their ballots. Some held signs reading “You can only ban safe abortions” and “Abortion is health care.”
In a statement released shortly after the bill was signed, Holcomb said he “made it clear” after Roe’s fall that he was ready to support anti-abortion legislation. He also highlighted the “carefully negotiated” exceptions in the law, which he says address “some of the unthinkable circumstances that a woman or an unborn child could face.”
Before agreeing on the exceptions, Republican lawmakers disagreed on how far the law should go, with some GOP members siding with Democrats calling for abortion to be legal in cases of rape and incest .
Abortion rights organizations quickly rebuked the law. Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of the 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 that,” Johnson said.
In a statement, the anti-abortion group Indiana Right to Life opposed the exceptions, saying the new law does not go far enough to limit access to abortions.
Kansans strongly oppose the amendment, which aims to restrict abortion rights
Indiana Republicans’ push to limit access to abortion stands in stark contrast to overwhelming support from voters in Kansas, where another traditionally conservative state this week rejected an attempt to end abortion protections. This win should bolster the Democratic Party’s hope that the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Knocking out Wade will give voters a boost ahead of the midterm elections — and give Republicans reason to consider the possible consequences of pursuing tougher abortion laws.
Unlike many of its mostly conservative Midwestern neighbors, Indiana had no “trigger law” on the books that would outlaw abortion immediately if Roe was overthrown. Because the procedure was legal in the state for up to 22 weeks, Indiana became a destination for many seeking to terminate their pregnancies.
Cutting off this “critical entry point” could force people to “travel hundreds of miles or become pregnant against their will,” the American Civil Liberties Union said.
Recently, a 10-year-old girl who was raped had to travel to Indianapolis for an abortion after being denied one in her home state of Ohio. The case sparked outrage among pro-choice advocates, was criticized by President Biden and drew international attention.
dr Caitlin Bernard, the obstetrician-gynecologist who performed the treatment, faced threats and harassment. Her attorneys are trying to file a defamation lawsuit against the Indiana Attorney General, whose office is investigating how the abortion case was handled.
Kim Bellware contributed to this report.