GOP abortion legislation still under wraps as special session looms

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With a little more than a week left before the Republican-dominated Indiana Legislature convenes for a special session, not much is known about what its abortion-related legislation will look like, or exactly how soon bills will be filed.

Republicans have met privately in caucus and leadership has been polling its members to get a better sense of where they stand on issues related to abortion, but most have been silent on what precise direction the legislation is headed.

Some media outlets have speculated that the GOP will draw from a post-Roe v. Wade model abortion law crafted by Jim Bopp, an Indiana attorney who works with the National Right to Life Committee. The proposal would outlaw all abortions except to preserve the life of the mother; victims of rape and incest would have to travel out-of-state to seek abortion care.

The measure also would impose harsh criminal penalties on physicians who perform an abortion, making it a level 2 felony punishable by 10 to 30 years in prison.

Spokeswomen for the Indiana House and Senate Republicans didn’t respond directly to questions about whether lawmakers planned to work from Bopp’s proposal. GOP legislative leaders have generally declined to respond directly to media inquiries on the issue.

Over the past couple of weeks, Democrats have increasingly called on Republican leaders to end the secrecy.

“Legislators have a duty to answer their constituents’ questions and be up front with their agendas, especially in situations such as this. Unfortunately, Republicans seem to have forgotten that fact,” Rep. Tonya Pfaff, D-Terre Haute, said in a written statement on Thursday. “While millions of Hoosiers are awaiting their plan, Republicans have spent the last month scheming behind closed doors and refusing to answer questions. We are completely in the dark as to what the future for all women in Indiana will look like.”

Sen. Phil Boots, one of only a handful of pro-abortion rights Republicans in the Legislature, believes Indiana’s abortion law will look similar to Bopp’s model law.

“It appears there’s going to be an effort to pass something along those lines,” Boots told the Indianapolis Business Journal. “I’m not supportive of that, and I’m afraid that’s what the proposal would be.”

Whether lawmakers will consider one or several abortion bills during the session is also unclear.

During a special session, House rules do not include a deadline to file bills, according to Erin Wittern, spokeswoman for Indiana House Republicans. A Senate spokeswoman said the same is true of the Senate.

The special session is scheduled to begin in earnest on July 25. But with no stated bill filing deadlines, that means lawmakers potentially could convene before any legislation is filed.

The session is required by law to end by Aug. 14, meaning new abortion restrictions in Indiana almost certainly would pass the Legislature by then. If not, Gov. Eric Holcomb would have the option to immediately call a second special session to extend the Legislature’s work on the issue.

Holcomb has declined to say whether he would support legislation as restrictive as Bopp’s model law. On Wednesday, he told reporters that he wants to make progress “to protect innocent life” but declined to elaborate further. He did say he hopes the Legislature will boost support for social services, something that House Speaker Todd Huston said he also supports.

“While it’s too early to speculate on what form legislation may take, I strongly believe we’ll couple any action with expanding resources and services to support pregnant mothers, and care for their babies before and after birth,” Huston said in a statement following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

A joint statement issued by the offices of Huston and Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray said the General Assembly “will vet [special-session] bills through the full legislative process, including committee hearings and public testimony.”

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26 thoughts on “GOP abortion legislation still under wraps as special session looms

  1. I’m just sick at heart, and so fearful for the women and girls of this state. Our lives are in the hands of these men, and it is a desperate, frightful place to be.

  2. Such drama, Rachael. Even if all abortions for any reason are ever made illegal in Indiana, there will be plenty of states where abortionists will be more than willing to legally take a woman’s (or her “partner’s”) money and kill her baby. (Just bring cash in advance, though, no credit cards or checks, please…in keeping with the less-than-honorable nature of their “business.”)

    1. Yes. Abortion will stop the life of the cells, baby, fetus — choose the name one wishes to use. Use ‘kill’ if you wish.

      And this should be the decision of the individual(s) involved — their decision, their conscience, their future, and their religion, and their consideration for eternity.

      Medical procedures are not free.

      Should there be limits and restrictions and guidelines — yes, yes, and yes: go back in history and look at other more rational countries, set a max of 15 to 17 weeks (if one cannot decide by then, no abortion), always allow for cases of rape and incest, and allow in secure and safe medical facilities if surgical.

    2. Oh I see Bob. Drama. I’m just a drama queen woman, right? I mean, none of this is going to affect your body in any way will it?

      You know what, I am a rape survivor, okay? In the days after, I was terrified that I might get pregnant from the two men who attacked me. I didn’t even know their names. Can you imagine how that felt Bob? Can you? It’s the most horrible feeling, I can’t describe – and I wanted to have kids. But guess what Bob, I took the Plan B Morning After pill, because thank god, I was living in New York City at the time, and it was available to me. At the time Indiana had outlawed it.
      So if you’ll pardon me for getting particularly triggered about this subject, I will debate anyone, anytime, anywhere, because I have lived this. I doubt very seriously that you have Bob.

      But see, what happened to me won’t affect you in any way, will it? You don’t know me. You don’t have to live my life. If I had gotten pregnant, you wouldn’t even know my name. And I’m just a little upset that those men, and a few women in that state house over there, are going to decide – for me – what I am “allowed” to do with my drama-filled, overreacting body.

      Funny thing is, most of the same people taking away our rights, were crying about a Federal Mandate for the Vaccine, just a year or so ago. Remember that? I remember clearly -oh those liberals can’t force me to get a vaccine – my body, my choice.
      I agree with you. Fair is fair Bob.
      It’s my Body. It is my choice and not anyone else’s. Neither you nor any legislator or governor has any right to apply your religious convictions to my life or the life of any woman. They may pass this law, and they may feel holy and sanctified, and pat themselves on the back for being such good servants of God, and then go home and never see the faces of the women they have affected.
      We will not rest until we get the Constitutional and God Given power over our own bodies once again.

    3. Derek hit the nail on the head!

      Abortion has massive support but the caveat is *with limitations*

      It seems everyone on the progressive left forgets that somehow…

    4. And so does everyone on the right when they propose heartbeat laws and ban all abortion. Their idea of moderation is rape and incest.

      Exactly why this is the fault of the left alone is beyond me, given how loudly the right claims to be pro life while refusing to increase social service spending so that women aren’t getting abortions because they cannot afford to have kids.

    5. If the right is so anti abortion, then provide birth control for women and the day after pill free of charge. Yeah, didn’t think so. How about free daycare for all these new babies, good public education and decent housing? The sad irony is that just as many women who vote republican have terminations – and as everyone knows here, the wealthy will always have access.

  3. Amy C. – No problem. When they change the laws on abortion (murder) they can also change the law on who is financially responsible for the first 18 years of a child’s life. Currently, the biological father (that would be a “man” for those of you that are confused with such matters) must pay child support for children he fathers. But he has no say if the mother chooses to abort the life. Not equitable at all. Two consenting adults willfully take action that results in a pregnancy, but the woman has sole right to determine whether the child gets murdered. If she decides on life, the man pays for the next 18 years. (Which is the right choice). No “inclusion” for the murdered child. No “equity” for the biological father. The leftists are talking out both sides of their mouths. Business as usual.

    1. You sound like an absolute fool, Mark. Take it from another “man” – your ravings reek of insecurities, anger, and ignorance. It may pain you to understand this, but Amy and Rachael are both right. It is legitimately scary to have old, (mostly) white men deciding the availability of women’s healthcare, full stop. “two consenting adults” doesn’t leave a whole lot of space for what happens in the real world, no? Not sure a 10-year-old assault survivor fits into your narrow, idealistic view of procreation. I may just sit this one out if I were you.

    2. Thank you Mark. This is one of the key premises the abortophiles consistently ignore…probably because it refutes 95% of the points they try to make.

      I remain pro-choice; I support bodily autonomy in general. But, remaining committed to the centrist viewpoint, I certainly recognize that “reproductive rights” are a female privilege. As you note, the woman has sole right to the decision, even though the baby is only 50% her genetic material. She may be the baby box, but he’s the baby batter.

      Nate’s tedious white-knighting id-pol rantings clearly aren’t working on a growing number of people. Women aren’t oppressed, Nate. It’s almost like in Nate’s delusional fantasy (shared by Amy and Rachael), there are no pro-life women.

    3. Mark, I don’t see any of these pro-life Republicans in a hurry to go after biological fathers who skip out on child support.

  4. What a mess. Unreasonable.

    No one was forced to have an abortion. Now the state assumes the right to make people have babies they don’t want. States that offer bounties for denunciation, empowering nosey neighbors — so similar to East Germany with the Stasi — the new improved Indiana, one supposes.

    Should be a 15 to 17 week cutoff nationwide.

    Yes, I know many disagree.

    Abortion will not end. Illegal abortions will occur as they did before 1973.

    What would one do if their loved one had the same sad fate of the 10-year old that fled Ohio to get an abortion in Indiana. The response by the AG was shameful — seeking the blame the victim and vilify the doctor.

    1. Why 15-17 weeks? Is this an opportunity for magic numbers or are they arbitrary?
      And no one bothered to mention the favor the Indiana doctor did for the little girl (which cannot be emphasized enough that she wasn’t a woman) who was raped. The sad part is the Fox News fans on here probably thought their coverage of the child was imaginary…until the truth came out.

    2. The truth coming out has been very selective, Phillip, no doubt the fault of Fox News just as much as the rest of the legacy media. The girl was raped by a person who shouldn’t be in this country at all. And reports are increasingly suggesting that the mother of the poor girl knew that this adult male illegal immigrant had carnal knowledge of her 10-year-old. Disgusting. Why didn’t the original doctor report the obvious rape, since a ten year old cannot get pregnant any other way? Given that the Ohio laws make provisions for this situation, why send the child to Indiana?

      Nobody was getting the full story five days ago, so it’s reasonable to presume we still aren’t. And the selective release of details has been motivated by political partisanship. As usual.

  5. Question for IBJ: do those who comment on these articles have to subscribe to IBJ, like me, or can anyone do so? My guess is no. Because when I see comments like “abortophile” I imagine there there are some whose goal is to suggest they represent IBJ’s readership rather than those whose “jobs” are to engage in disinformation. Thanks for clarifying.

    1. I try my best to ignore all on-line, anonymous comments. Luckily the IBJ is better than most places, particularly Twitter, at putting a name and person with the comments.

    2. It’s so frustrating that you have to be confronted with views that don’t comport with your own, isn’t it Alexander?

      Since you’re an ideologue using the favorite term to delegitimize other viewpoints (“misinformation”), you probably didn’t read the full context of my statement. If I have the chance to vote for the legality of abortion in Indiana, I vote to keep it legal. But I recognize how effectively the pro-choice crowd is getting people to rally behind the anti-choice cause as a vocal subset does in fact believe “abortion is a blessing”, “abortion is just health care”, and “killing a child up to five minutes before birth should be the woman’s choice”. This is nothing less than abortophilia. And precisely why the anti-choice crowd feels emboldened.

      Remember when “safe legal and rare” was the compromise? Remember waaaay back when one political party thought it was fine to destroy other people’s livelihoods if they didn’t want to get vaccinated? Pepperidge Farm remembers. And so do those of us who want abortion to be safe legal and rare. Not on demand, not because the finances change at month 8 in the pregnancy. It is still a human being at a different stage in life, and to pretend otherwise is to be as anti-science as the young earth creationists.

    3. And a reminder that the other side is claiming that being raped and impregnated is a blessing, women just don’t know it yet.

      I’m all for making abortion safe, legal, and rare when the anti-abortion crowd realizes the most effective way to reduce the number of abortions is not by banning the procedure, but is making unintended pregnancies so uncommon that women don’t have to seek the procedure out. That is a 100% achievable thing, the problem is that the anti-abortion crowd wants to make sure that sex is primarily related to conception and only in the domain of marriage, and that those who stray from that should be punished by having to raise a child because that’s God’s Will.

  6. I have always considered myself to be a Pro-Life person. What I want out legislature to do is to enact a nuanced law. Legal abortion for about 10 weeks. Only life-of-the-mother after the initial legal period. Parents of mothers under 18 must have rights. Fathers must have rights.

    1. Are you intimated by Lauren because she writes so eloquently? People can live in Indiana and still use big words.

    2. If you can’t refute an argument, just deny deny deny.

      I took over another person’s IBJ subscription about eight months ago and finally made the full name change last week. Yes, I paid for this subscription.