Indiana’s state legislature is the first in the US to pass new legislation restricting access to abortions since the federal Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade.
The bill went to Republican state governor Eric Holcomb, who signed it Friday night.
Indiana was one of the first Republican-led state legislators to debate tougher abortion laws following the June Supreme Court ruling that abolished constitutional protections. It is the first state to have issued a ban by both chambers.
The Indiana Senate passed the near-total ban 28-19, hours after House members brought it forward 62-38. It includes limited exceptions, including in cases of rape and incest, and to protect the life and physical health of the mother. The rape and incest exceptions are limited to 10 weeks after conception, meaning victims couldn’t get an abortion in Indiana after that. Victims would not be required to sign a notarized affidavit attesting to an assault.
Outside the living room, abortion rights activists often chanted comments from lawmakers, carrying signs like “Roe ree, your vote” and “Build this wall” between church and state. Some House Democrats wore blazers over pink “Bans Off Our Bodies” T-shirts.
Indiana lawmakers have listened to testimonies over the past two weeks in which residents on all sides of the issue rarely, if ever, supported the legislation. Abortion rights advocates said the bill went too far, while anti-abortion activists said it didn’t go far enough.
By arguing against the bill, Rep. Ann Vermilion condemned her fellow Republicans for calling women who had abortions “murderers.”
“I think the Lord’s promise is for mercy and kindness,” she said. “He wouldn’t jump to judge these women.”
The House, largely on party lines, rejected a Democratic proposal to ask a nonbinding question in the November statewide election vote: “Will abortion remain legal in Indiana?”
Indiana house speaker Todd Huston said if residents were unhappy, they could vote for new lawmakers.
Kansas voters already firmly rejected a measure that would have allowed the state’s Republican-controlled legislature to tighten abortion in the first test of voters’ feelings on the issue since Roe was quashed.
Indiana’s proposed ban also came after political storms over a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled to the state from neighboring Ohio to terminate her pregnancy. The case gained attention when an Indianapolis doctor said the child was coming to Indiana because of Ohio’s “fetal heartbeat” ban.
Democratic Representative Maureen Bauer spoke in tears before Friday’s vote of people in her South Bend district who oppose the bill — the husbands who support their wives, the fathers who support their daughters — as well as the women “who demand that we be treated as equals.” being seen” .
Bauer’s comments were followed by loud cheers from protesters in the hallway and subdued applause from fellow Democrats.
“You might not have thought these women would show up,” Bauer said. “Maybe you thought we weren’t paying attention.”
West Virginia lawmakers on July 29 passed up the opportunity to be the first state to pass a unified ban after the lower house refused to pass Senate amendments that removed criminal penalties for doctors who performed illegal abortions. Delegates instead asked for a conference committee to consider the details between the bills.