Indiana abortion debate draws protest crowds as legislative hearings continue

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A loud group standing outside the Indiana Senate chambers chant about their desire for abortion rights. (Robert Scheer/The Indianapolis Star via AP)

Thousands of people arguing the abortion issue surrounded the Indiana Statehouse and filled its corridors Monday as state lawmakers began consideration of a Republican proposal to ban nearly all abortions in the state and Vice President Kamala Harris denounced the effort during a meeting with Democratic legislators.

Confrontations erupted periodically between anti-abortion and abortion-rights demonstrators around the Indiana Statehouse. One person carrying a message on cardboard — “Forced Birth Is Violence” — followed a man, who carried a fake red fetus in a plastic bag over his shoulder, and tried to obscure his sign that read “Save Our Babies.”

Some people had virulent arguments encircled by other demonstrators.

“You think you should dictate my life and my kids’ lives. That’s what you’re saying,” Kait Schultz, who wore a dark gray “Pregnant and Pissed” shirt, shouted to Christopher Monaghan.
“You don’t want to have a conversation,” Monaghan replied as they spoke over each other. He held a vertical sign that read “Babies Lives Matter.”

Harris said during a trip to Indianapolis that the abortion ban proposal reflects a health care crisis in the country. Despite the bill’s abortion ban language, anti-abortion activists lined up before a legislative committee to argue that the bill wasn’t strict enough and lacked enforcement teeth.

Indiana is one of the first Republican-run state legislatures to debate tighter abortion laws following the U.S. Supreme Court decision last month overturning Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.

“Maybe some people need to actually learn how a woman’s body works,” Harris said Monday, eliciting murmurs and laughs from the Democratic legislators. “The parameters that are being proposed mean that for the vast majority of women, by the time she realizes she is pregnant, she will effectively be prohibited from having access to reproductive health care that will allow her to choose what happens to her body.”

Indiana’s Republican Senate leaders proposed a bill last week that would prohibit abortions from the time an egg is implanted in a woman’s uterus with limited exceptions — in cases of rape, incest and to protect the life of the mother. The proposal followed the political firestorm over a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled to the state from neighboring Ohio to end her pregnancy.

“She is a baby,” Democratic Rep. Cherrish Pryor of Indianapolis, one of the lawmakers at the meeting with Harris, said of the child. “Why should we force babies to have babies?”

The case of the Ohio girl gained wide attention when an Indianapolis doctor said the child had to go to Indiana because Ohio banned abortions at the first detectable “fetal heartbeat” after the Supreme Court’s abortion decision.

The ultimate fate of the Indiana abortion bill in the Republican-dominated Legislature is uncertain, as leaders of Indiana Right to Life, the state’s most prominent anti-abortion group, are decrying the Senate proposal as weak and lacking enforcement provisions.

Republican Senate leaders said the bill would not add new criminal penalties against doctors involved with abortions, but they would face possibly having their medical licenses revoked for breaking the law.
Numerous anti-abortion activists argued against including the exceptions allowing abortions in cases of rape and incest.

People march back and forth in a crowded area outside the Senate chambers at the Indiana Statehouse. (Kelly Wilkinson/The Indianapolis Star via AP)

“I don’t believe children should be murdered based on their circumstance of conception,” Emma Duell of Noblesville told the Senate committee. “What happened the night they were conceived, something they have no control over should not affect whether they are protected from abortion violence or not.”

Duell spoke during the opening day of a Senate committee hearing on the bill, which is scheduled to continue Tuesday with more public testimony.

Republican Sen. Sue Glick, the abortion ban bill’s sponsor, said she expected amendments would be considered tightening the exceptions before the Senate’s anticipated vote on the proposal later this week.
Representatives of several physician groups raised concerns about the Indiana proposal possibly being questioned and prosecuted over their medical decisions.

Ariel Ream of Indianapolis said she was undergoing fertility treatments and worried that the abortion ban could leave her health threatened if she were to have a miscarriage and face bleeding.

“When am I hemorrhaging enough to be able to get care?” Ream said. “We don’t know if you go to the ER that doctor’s going to be scared enough to put their license on the line for me.”

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4 thoughts on “Indiana abortion debate draws protest crowds as legislative hearings continue

  1. To quote the irrepressible intellectual sage that is Kamala Harris yesterday: “To be clear—and maybe some people need to actually learn how a woman’s body works—but when you understand how a woman’s body works, you will understand that the parameters that are being proposed mean that for the vast majority of women, by the time she realizes she is pregnant, she will effectively be prohibited from having access to reproductive healthcare that would allow her to choose what happens to her body,” Harris said.

    If Harris understood how a woman’s body works, she would know that having an abortion is one of several risk factors considered to put a woman at a greater risk for developing breast cancer later in life. Researchers aren’t sure exactly why that is and, of course, the mainstream media will squelch anything related to that fact…but it is a fact. Just because we don’t know why something happens doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen…just as not all smokers will develop lung cancer, smoking increases the risk of breast cancer being developed in women who have had an abortion …so don’t post that I said all women who have had an abortion will develop breast cancer later in life, because I didn’t say that. It is not true. It simply increases the risk, period.

    Kamala Harris is wasting taxpayer money and insulting the good people of Indiana, most of whom I suspect despise her, as I do, by coming here and meddling in our affairs. She should have kept going and flown down to the southern border, where our Dementia-in-Chief put her in charge of that problem…not that she would have any idea of what to do down there anyway.

    What a useless human being, elected solely on her gender and skin pigmentation.

    And, of course, she ignores the reality that the unborn baby’s DNA is distinctly different than that of the mother, scientifically (not Biblically or philosophically) proving the baby is not “part of her body,” to do with as she pleases, as the pro-aborts are so fond of saying.

    1. So when Mike Pence flew in at taxpayer expense and stole focus from a day intended to honor Peyton Manning by making it about that Republican goal of making people stand for the National Anthem, that was different?

      By the way, Bob, given the abysmal state of women’s health here in the state of Indiana, I am reasonably sure it’s safer for a women to get an abortion than give birth. The $50 million dollar a year ”increase” should offend anyone who is truly pro-life and cares about both the baby and the mom. If you were pro-life, you’d be arguing that we need to add a zero at the end and make Indiana the best state in America to be a pregnant mom. It’s not as though we don’t have the money.

      But as we’ve established, it’s not about the mom or the baby for those arguing for this ban. It’s about imposing Catholic (sex is only for procreation) and Christian values (sex is only for heterosexual marriage) upon America. Don’t tell me it’s not, I have significant experience in both faiths. Enough to see a lot of people being Pharisees on the issue, which is sad, because Jesus hates Pharisees more than he hated sinners.

      And, please, keep on making it about race and gender with VP Harris.

    2. Regarding VP Harris, actually it was Joe Biden, who, during the campaign, made it about race and gender when he stated publicly that he would name a black woman as his running mate. No mention of credentials, just race and gender.

    3. Two wrongs don’t make a right, Joe, as to the Harris / Penmce comparison, Joe.

      As to everything else in your reply, we’ve also long “established” that you hate anything associated with the Christian faith, regardless of denomination. Just admit you’re an unrepentant Secular-Humanist and it will be fine.