Abdul-Hakim Shabazz: Republicans are struggling to figure out what to do

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Should the Legislature change Indiana’s abortion law during an upcoming special session?

Abdul-Hakim ShabazzNearly 20 years ago, when I was a talk show host and political reporter back in Springfield, Illinois, there was a young lady to whom I had been attracted for years. We’d see each other at events, but that was about it.

One night, however, we were out with friends, and she asked me to walk her back to her car. When we got there, she told me she knew I liked her and she wanted to start dating. You might find this hard to believe, but I was shocked and speechless.

I felt like the dog that had finally caught the car. After years of chasing after something, I finally caught it and had absolutely no idea what to do with it.

That’s how Republicans in the Statehouse must feel when it comes to the abortion issue.

So, as you are aware, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ruling there is no constitutional right to an abortion and turning the decisions about abortion back to the states. Some states have restricted abortion rights, while others are expanding them.

So, what the heck is going on here in Indiana?

Gov. Eric Holcomb had originally called a special session for July 6 to get Hoosiers a second automatic taxpayer refund. But then came the SCOTUS decision, which threw everything out of whack. Now, the special session date is July 25. Part of the reason it’s delayed is that Republican lawmakers are all over the place regarding abortion.

There are different degrees of pro-life; some people who say they are pro-life want no abortions under any circumstances—and some want exemptions. After doing some checking, here’s what I found out about what most Republican lawmakers are thinking.

First, with the exception of the far, far, far, far right, most lawmakers want an exemption for the life of the mother—although a good chunk thinks doctors should do everything they can to save the unborn child.

Second on the list of possible exemptions is one for rape and incest. That enjoys a lot of support, but not as much as an exemption for the life of the mother.

Some lawmakers want to include some kind of police-reporting requirement—and a time limit for reporting once a procedure is done.

One of the more complicated issues to consider is penalties. Whom do you punish? The mother? The doctor? The Uber or taxi driver who drove a woman to have the procedure done? It’s doubtful the mother will be sanctioned, or the Uber driver. The question is, what penalties to impose on the medical provider?

There could also be a dollar amount tied to this legislation, as many lawmakers have said they want to support mothers and their children. One lawmaker suggested making birth control free. (And for those who say the government should not be paying for birth control, look at our history. In World War II, the U.S. government gave condoms to servicemen. The Army would generally issue each serviceman six free condoms a month. It also issued soldiers a “pro kit”—or prophylactic kit—which contained medicated soap, medicinal cream and a pre-treated cloth they could use to wash their genitals immediately after sex for extra protection.)

As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts to this issue.

After 50 years, the pro-life wing of the Indiana Republican Party has finally caught the car.

Now let’s see if its members know how to drive.•


Shabazz is an attorney, radio talk show host and political commentator, college professor and stand-up comedian.

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5 thoughts on “Abdul-Hakim Shabazz: Republicans are struggling to figure out what to do

  1. This is a pretty weak article. Obviously these are some of the issues but not even close to all of them. Also we have no idea how he feels on these issues. The headline reads as if the Republicans have no clue. Entirely misleading but what would you expect from an IBJ oped

    1. I don’t agree with Abdul but it appears he was right:

      “Recent Indiana abortion surveys are few and far in between — with big changes in support and opposition based on wording and level of detail — so Indiana Republicans commissioned their own poll, as they draw up abortion-restricting proposals for a special session this month.

      The House and Senate GOP campaign committees conducted a poll on abortion shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Dobbs v. Jackson decision on June 24. The polling firm is reliably Republican, but the results were shocking to some conservative members of the caucuses.

      Multiple GOP insiders spoke to the Indiana Capital Chronicle anonymously because the poll is being heavily guarded. Requests about the survey to House Speaker Todd Huston as well as both the House Republican Campaign Committee and Senate Majority Campaign Committee were ignored.

      What is clear, according to the insiders, is that Hoosiers don’t want a near-virtual ban on abortion. Instead, they support exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother. And many are supportive of allowing abortion up to 15 weeks of gestation.”


  2. Like most from the “media”, the author betrays his leftist bias. When you take in news from 95% of the popular local and national news outlets, whether from reporters or editors, they all lean left and would have the readers believe conservatives are a small, dwindling group becoming less relevant each day. They not only hammer conservatives, but moderates as well, as they often express views different from the far left. The problem for the left is that their extreme views that distort reality become exposed for what they truly are when people vote. It sometimes takes a little time, but eventually, the “majority” of voters elect leadership that enacts sound policies that build society up rather than tear it down. These voters want leaders that address matters important to the majority, rather than spending ridiculous sums of time and money on fringe issues such as who can use what bathroom. What is needed is “media reform”. Most readers of news are tired of pundits reporting news, followed by explaining ad nauseam “what it means” and how those taking the news in should respond. Quit manipulating with the constant propaganda. The public is smart enough to know what they think about what happens without being told how to think.

  3. Why the negativity in the comments? All Shabazz was doing was sharing some inside intel on what Republicans are considering now that Roe is overturned. I found it useful especially because Republicans have been doing back room conversations which neither the Dems or public have been privy to.