Indiana Abortion Laws: State Lawmakers First to Pass New Legislation Restricting Abortion Access Since Roe v Wade Overturned

INDIANAPOLIS– Indiana became the first state in the nation to pass new legislation restricting access to abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June that overturned Roe v. Wade.

The Indiana legislature on Friday approved a near total ban on abortion with few exceptions, including cases of rape, incest and to protect the life and physical health of the mother.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb immediately signed the bill into law.

Indiana was among the first Republican-led state legislatures to debate tougher abortion laws after the Supreme Court’s ruling in June that removed constitutional protections for the procedure. It is the first state to pass a ban by both houses, after West Virginia lawmakers passed up July 29 the chance to be that state.

The debates come amid an evolving landscape of abortion politics across the country as Republicans grapple with some party splits and Democrats see a possible election-year boost.

RELATED: Indiana State Senate Passes Bill Banning Almost All Abortion Cases

The Senate approved the near-total ban 28-19, hours after House members moved 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 exceptions for rape and incest are limited to 10 weeks after fertilization, which means victims could not have an abortion in Indiana after that. Victims would not be required to sign a notarized affidavit attesting to an attack.

Republican Rep. Wendy McNamara of Evansville, who sponsored the bill, told reporters after the House vote that the legislation “makes Indiana one of the most pro-life states in the country.”

Outside the House chamber, abortion rights activists often chanted remarks from lawmakers, carrying signs such as “Roe roe roe your vote” and “Build this wall” between the church and the ‘State. Some House Democrats wore blazers over pink “Bans Off Our Bodies” T-shirts.

The House added exceptions to protect the health and life of the mother after repeated requests from doctors and others. It also allows abortions if a fetus is diagnosed with a fatal abnormality.

Indiana lawmakers have listened to hours of testimony over the past two weeks in which residents on all sides of the issue have rarely, if ever, supported the legislation. Abortion-rights supporters said the bill went too far, while anti-abortion activists said it didn’t go far enough.

The House also rejected, largely along party lines, a Democratic proposal to place a nonbinding question on the ballot in the statewide November election: “Will abortion remain legal? in Indiana?”

The proposal came after Kansas voters resoundingly rejected a measure that would have allowed the state’s Republican-controlled legislature to tighten abortion in the first test of voter feelings on the issue since Roe was overthrown.

Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston told reporters that if residents are unhappy, they can vote for new lawmakers.

RELATED: Kansas Abortion Amendment Fails, Voters Protect Abortion Rights, Block Path To Ban

“Ultimately, it’s up to the Senate to decide,” he said. “Voters have the opportunity to vote, and if they are unhappy, they will have the opportunity both in November and in the years to come.”

Indiana’s proposed ban also came after the political storm over a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled to the state from neighboring Ohio to terminate her pregnancy. The case drew attention when an Indianapolis doctor said the child came to Indiana because of Ohio’s “fetal heartbeat” ban.

Democratic Rep. Maureen Bauer spoke tearfully ahead of Friday’s vote of residents in her South Bend district who oppose the bill — with husbands standing behind their wives, fathers supporting their daughters — as well as wives” that demand that we be seen as equals.”

Bauer’s comments were followed by loud cheers from protesters in the hallway and subdued applause from fellow Democrats.

“You may not have thought these women would show up,” Bauer said. “Maybe you thought we wouldn’t be careful.”

On July 29, West Virginia lawmakers passed up the chance to be the first state with a unified ban after its House of Delegates refused to approve Senate amendments that removed criminal penalties for practicing physicians. illegal abortions. Delegates instead asked a conference committee to review the details between the bills.

The debates come amid an evolving landscape of abortion politics across the country as Republicans grapple with party divisions and Democrats see a possible election-year boost.

Religion was a persistent theme during the special session, both in testimonials from residents and in comments from lawmakers.

In arguing against the bill, Rep. Ann Vermilion condemned her fellow Republicans by calling women who got abortions “murderers.”

“I think the Lord’s promise is for grace and goodness,” she said. “He wouldn’t jump to convict these women.”

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb released a statement after the special session:

“Today I proudly signed Bill 2 enshrined in the Senate to return $1 billion to the taxpayers of Hoosier. This fulfills what I intended to accomplish by calling the General Assembly into Special Session to to help Hoosiers suffer from historically high inflation. I am also especially grateful for the nearly $100 million in long overdue increased funding to support the health of our Hoosier mothers and babies. While there remains there is still much to do, better access to and awareness of all of our programs will be key to improving our infant and maternal mortality rates – a longstanding priority of my administration.“The exemplary teamwork and seriousness of purpose put into every element of SEA 2 is a testament to the elected leaders who helped shape it. I want to thank Senator Travis Holdman, President Doc Brown, Representative Sharon Negele and the many other members from both sides of the aisle who contributed to the strength of the final product.“The effort to deliver the programmatic supports and $1 billion in inflation relief contained in SEA 2 is all the more remarkable because it was crafted amid the extensive and thoughtful debate on the Act of registration for Senate 1, which I also signed today.“After Roe’s overthrow, I made it clear that I would support legislation that has made progress in protecting life. The Indiana General Assembly with a solid majority of These actions followed long days of hearings filled with personal and sobering testimonies from citizens and elected officials on this emotional and complex subject. shaped and informed the final content of the legislation and its carefully negotiated exceptions to address some of the unthinkable circumstances a woman or unborn child might face.“Thank you Senator Sue Glick and Rep. Wendy McNamara for your courageous fathering of SEA 1. Each of you showed a steady hand and amazing poise while carrying this unique legislation into a generation.“Overall, I would be remiss if I did not specifically thank my friends, Speaker of the House, Todd Huston, and Speaker of the Senate, Pro Tem Rod Bray, for their partnership, strength and determination during preparation and throughout this special session, you each showed the best that Indiana has to offer by leading your respective chambers through unprecedented waters and keeping your promises to conduct a respectful and thorough process.“Finally, to the people of Indiana, let me assure you that the democratic process continues and that you should continue to reach out to all of your elected representatives to make your voice heard. Looking back, I personally am the prouder of every Hoosier who has come forward to bravely share their views in a debate that is unlikely to end any time soon.For my part as your governor, I will continue to keep an ear open.

Arleigh Rodgers is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on underreported issues. Follow her on Twitter at

ABC7 Chicago contributed to this post.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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