Indiana’s legislature on Friday became the first in the nation to pass new legislation restricting abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
The measure is now in the hands of Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, who has not indicated whether he will sign it.
Indiana was one of the first state legislatures to be run by a RepublicanAfter the Supreme Court ruled in June to remove constitutional protections from the process. It was the first state to pass a bicameral injunction after lawmakers in West Virginia gave up the chance to become the state on July 29.
The debate comes amid evolving abortion politics across the country, as Republicans face some partisan divides and Democrats see a possible election-year boost.
Hours after the House of Representatives voted 62 to 38, the Senate approved the almost full ban 28 to 19.
It includes limited exceptions, including cases of rape and incest, as well as protecting the life and physical health of the mother. Rape and incest exceptions are limited to 10 weeks after fertilization, which means victims cannot have abortions in Indiana after that. Victims do not need to sign a notarized affidavit to prove the attack.
Republican Rep. Wendy McNamara of Evansville, who supported the bill, told reporters after the House vote that the bill “makes Indiana one of the most pro-life states in the nation.”
Outside the House, abortion rights activists often chanted the lawmakers’ remarks, holding signs such as “Roe roe roe roe your vote” and “Build this wall between church and state.” Some House Democrats wore blazers over pink “ban our bodies” T-shirts.
Following repeated requests from doctors and others, the House added exceptions to protect the health and life of mothers. It also allows abortions if the fetus is diagnosed with a fatal abnormality.
Indiana lawmakers have heard hours of testimony over the past two weeks in which few, if any, residents on all sides of the issue supported the legislation. Abortion rights supporters say the bill goes too far, while anti-abortion activists say it doesn’t go far enough.
The House also rejected Democrats’ bid to raise a non-binding question in November’s statewide election ballot, based largely on partisan lines: “Is abortion still legal in Indiana?”
The proposal comes after voters in Kansas strongly opposed a measure that would allow the state’s Republican-controlled legislature to tighten up on abortion in the first test of voters’ feelings on the issue since Roe’s overthrow.
Indiana House Speaker Todd Houston told reporters that if residents are not satisfied, they can vote for new lawmakers.
“It’s ultimately up to the Senate,” he said. “Voters have a chance to vote, and if they’re not happy, they’ll have a chance in November and for years to come.”
Indiana’s proposed ban also comes after a 10-year-old rape victim traveled from neighboring Ohio to the state to end a pregnancy in a political storm. The case drew attention when an Indianapolis doctor said the child came to Indiana because of Ohio’s “fetal heartbeat” ban.
Democratic Rep. Maureen Ball tearfully spoke ahead of Friday’s vote about her opponents of the bill in South Bend — the husband who stands behind his wife, the father who supports his daughter — and the “demanding that we Women are treated as equals”. ”
Protesters in the hallway cheered loudly after Ball’s comments, and fellow Democrats responded with applause.
“You probably didn’t expect these women to show up,” Ball said. “Maybe you thought we wouldn’t notice.”
On July 29, West Virginia lawmakers passed up the chance to be the first state to impose a uniform ban after its House of Representatives refused to agree to a Senate amendment that would remove criminal penalties for doctors who perform illegal abortions . Delegates instead called for a conference committee to consider details between the bills.
The debate comes amid evolving abortion politics across the country, as Republicans face partisan divides and Democrats see a possible election-year boost.
Religion was an enduring theme during the special session, whether in testimony from residents or comments from lawmakers.
In opposing the bill, Rep. Ann Vermilion accused her fellow Republicans of calling women who have abortions “murderers.”
“I think the Lord’s promises are grace and mercy,” she said. “He’s not going to jump off the building to condemn these women.”