Indiana becomes first US state to approve abortion ban post Roe

Indiana is the first state in the US to pass new legislation restricting access to abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

The ban, which takes effect on September 12, includes a few exceptions. Abortions would be allowed in cases of rape and incest before 10 weeks after fertilization; to protect the life and physical health of the mother; and when a fetus is diagnosed with a fatal abnormality.

Victims of rape and incest would not be required to sign a notarized affidavit confirming an assault, as previously proposed in the Senate.

Under the law, abortions can only be performed in hospitals or outpatient centers owned by hospitals, meaning all abortion clinics would lose their license. A doctor who performs an illegal abortion or fails to file the required reports must also lose his medical license — wording that reinforces current Indiana law that says a doctor “may” lose his license.


Republican Ann Vermilion spoke out against the House ban on abortion (Arleigh Rodgers/AP)

“I am personally immensely proud of every Hoosier who has come forward to boldly voice their views in a debate that is unlikely to end anytime soon,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said in the statement announcing that he had signed the measure.

“For my part as your governor, I will continue to listen.”

His approval came after the Indiana Senate approved the ban by a 28-19 vote and members of the House of Representatives advanced it by a 62-38 vote.

Indiana was among the first Republican-led state lawmakers to discuss tougher abortion laws after the Supreme Court ruled in June that the constitutional protections overturned the procedure. But it is the first state to pass a ban by both houses after the West Virginia legislature missed an opportunity to become that state on July 29.

“Happy to have completed one of the more challenging tasks we have ever done as a state general assembly, at least certainly during my presence here,” Senate President Pro-Tem Rodric Bray told reporters after the vote.

“I think that’s a huge opportunity and we’ll build on that as we move forward from here.”

Some senators from both parties bemoaned the bill’s provisions and the impact it would have on the state, including low-income women and the health care system. Eight Republicans joined all 11 Democrats to vote against the law, though their reasons for thwarting the measure were mixed.

“We’re falling behind on democracy,” said Democratic Sen. Jean Breaux of Indianapolis, who wore a green ribbon on her lapel on Friday symbolizing her support for abortion rights.


Protesters stand outside the House of Representatives chamber before voting (Jenna Watson/The Indianapolis Star via AP)

“What other freedoms, what other freedoms are lying on the chopping block waiting to be taken away?”

Republican Sen. Mike Bohacek of Michigan Shores spoke about his 21-year-old daughter who has Down Syndrome. Mr Bohacek voted against the law, saying there were no adequate protections for raped women with disabilities.

“If she were to lose her favorite stuffed animal, she would be heartbroken. Imagine having to carry a child,” he said before beginning to choke, then tossed his notes in his seat and exited the chamber.

However, Republican Sen. Mike Young of Indianapolis said the bill’s enforcement provisions against physicians were not strict enough.

Such debates exposed Indiana residents’ own disagreements on the issue, evident in hours of testimony lawmakers had heard over the past two weeks.

Residents on all sides of the issue rarely, if ever, supported the legislation, as pro-choice advocates said the law went too far, while anti-abortion activists said it didn’t go far enough.

The debates came amid an evolving landscape of abortion policy across the country as Republicans face some party splits and Democrats see a possible upswing in the election year. Indiana becomes first US state to approve abortion ban post Roe

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