Indiana Republicans propose abortion ban with exceptions


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Leaders of Indiana’s Republican-dominated Senate on Wednesday proposed banning abortion with limited exceptions — a move that comes amid a political storm over a 10-year-old rape victim who came to neighboring Ohio to terminate her pregnancy.

The proposal will be considered in a special legislative session set to begin Monday, making Indiana one of the first Republican-led states to debate tougher abortion laws following the court ruling. Supreme Court of the United States last month overturning Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court ruling is expected to result in the banning of abortion 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 Senator Sue Glick, who is sponsoring the bill, said the proposal would not limit access to emergency contraception known as the morning after pill or prevent doctors from treating miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies.

The bill would ban abortions once an egg is implanted in a woman’s uterus.

“Being pro-life is not about criminalizing women,” Glick said. “It’s about preserving the dignity of life and helping mothers deliver happy, healthy new babies.”

The Indiana affiliate of Planned Parenthood criticized the bill, saying in a press release that “a comprehensive abortion ban is on its 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 heart rate law, which prohibits abortions after heart activity is detected – usually around the sixth week of pregnancy – led the 10-year-old rape victim to visit the ‘Indiana to get a medical abortion on June 30. , according to the girl’s doctor.

Indiana Republicans have pushed through numerous anti-abortion laws over the past decade, and the vast majority signed a letter in March backing a special session to further strengthen those laws. But legislative leaders and Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb had remained tight-lipped since the Supreme Court ruling on whether they would push for a full abortion ban or allow exceptions.

The proposal unveiled on Wednesday faces at least two weeks of debate. Republican House Speaker Todd Huston did not endorse the bill, saying in a statement that “our caucus will take the time to review and review the details of the Senate bill, and will continue to ‘listen to the thoughts and contributions of voters across the state’.

Current Indiana law generally prohibits abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and narrowly limits them after the 13th week. Nearly 99% of abortions in the state last year took place at 13 weeks or earlier, according to a state Department of Health report.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, the 11th United States Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling and said Georgia’s restrictive abortion law of 2019 should be allowed to go into effect. The law prohibits most abortions once a “detectable human heartbeat” is present, although it includes some limited exceptions.

The appeals court also rejected arguments that a “personality” provision in the law is unconstitutionally vague. The provision grants the fetus the same legal rights that people have after birth.

In Michigan, meanwhile, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday vetoed parts of a state budget proposal that would have sent nearly $20 million in public funding to anti-abortion causes, including groups that run “pregnancy resource centers” aimed at persuading pregnant women to give birth.

Before Indiana lawmakers announced their proposal, the head of the state’s largest anti-abortion group told reporters the group would pressure lawmakers to introduce a bill.” which affirms the value of all life, including unborn children” without considering whether exceptions would be acceptable.

Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter said the vast majority of Indiana lawmakers have “campaigned as pro-lifers, they’ve run multiple election cycles as pro-lifers.”

“Now is not the time lawmakers should be drafting legislation that would make Roe versus Wade look like it’s still in place,” Fichter said. “Roe is no longer in place. The Roe shield is gone.

The state’s debate comes as an Indiana doctor was at the center of a political uproar after speaking out about the 10-year-old Ohio rape victim.

A 27-year-old man was charged last week in Columbus, Ohio with raping the girl, confirming a case initially met with skepticism by some Republican media and politicians. The pushback intensified after Democratic President Joe Biden expressed sympathy for the girl while signing an executive order to protect some access to abortion.

Indiana Republicans have passed several headline-grabbing social issues laws in recent years. In May, they overturned Holcomb’s veto of a bill banning transgender women and girls from participating in school sports that matched their gender identity.

It came seven years after Indiana faced a national outcry over a religious objections law signed by the then government. Mike Pence that opponents supported could be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians. The Republican-dominated legislature moved quickly through revisions blocking its use as a legal defense for refusing to provide services and blocking the law from overriding local ordinances with LGBTQ protections.


Associated Press writer Kate Brumback in Atlanta and AP/Report for America writer Joey Cappelletti in Lansing, Michigan, contributed to this report.


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