Indiana House passes abortion bill, sends bill to Senate

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The Indiana House on Friday passed a bill that would ban nearly all abortions in the state, sending the legislation back to the state Senate to confer on House changes.

House members advanced the near-total abortion ban 62-38 with limited exceptions, including in cases of rape and incest, and to protect the life and physical health of the mother.

The measure now goes to the Senate. If approved as is, Indiana lawmakers will become the first in the nation to pass new legislation restricting access to abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June removing its protected status as a constitutional right. The measure then would go to Gov. Eric Holcomb, who has not indicated whether he would sign it.

Republican Rep. Wendy McNamara of Evansville, who sponsored the bill, said the legislation “reflects an understanding that this is one of the most difficult and contentious issues of our lifetime.”

Outside the House chamber Friday, abortion-rights activists chanted over lawmakers’ remarks, carrying signs like “Roe roe roe your vote” and “Build this wall” between church and state. Some House Democrats wore blazers over pink “Bans Off Our Bodies” T-shirts.

The House version of the ban added exceptions for protecting the health and life of the mother after frequent requests from doctors and others who testified last week before a Senate committee. It also allows abortions if a fetus is diagnosed with a lethal anomaly.

The bill additionally removes the Senate-approved time frames based on age for abortions in cases of rape or incest—up to 12 weeks for those under 16 and eight weeks for those 16 and older. It instead creates a blanket ban after 10 weeks post-fertilization on abortions in cases of rape and incest. Victims would not be required to sign a notarized affidavit attesting to an attack.

Friday’s vote came about one week after the Republican-controlled Senate narrowly passed its ban with similar measures. State senators could consider the House-endorsed abortion ban Friday afternoon, when further changes are possible.

House and Senate legislators listened to hours of testimony over the past two weeks, when residents on all sides of the issue rarely, if ever, supported the legislation. Opposition from abortion-rights supporters said the bill goes too far while anti-abortion activists expressed it doesn’t go far enough.

Indiana was among the first Republican-run state legislatures to debate tighter abortion laws after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The proposed ban also came after the political firestorm over a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled to the state from neighboring Ohio to end her pregnancy. The case gained wide attention when an Indianapolis doctor said the child came to Indiana because of Ohio’s “fetal heartbeat” ban.

Democratic Rep. Maureen Bauer spoke tearfully about the people in her South Bend district who oppose the bill—the husbands standing behind their wives, the fathers supporting their daughters — as well as the women “who are demanding that we are seen as equal.”

Bauer’s comments were followed by raucous cheers from hallway protesters and quickly subdued applause from fellow Democrats.

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

West Virginia legislators on July 29 passed up the chance to be the first state with a unified ban after its House of Delegates refused to concur with Senate amendments that removed criminal penalties for physicians who perform illegal abortions. Delegates instead asked for a conference committee to consider the details between the bills.

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

The Indiana House vote further illustrated a deeply divided chamber, which formerly defeated an amendment that would have removed exceptions for rape and incest. A majority of GOP members wanted their removal.

The House vote and lawmakers’ discussions displayed a similar division seen in the Senate over those same exceptions, which remained in the Senate bill when an attempt among senators last week failed.

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19 thoughts on “Indiana House passes abortion bill, sends bill to Senate

  1. Republican Rep. Wendy McNamara of Evansville, who sponsored the bill, said the legislation “reflects an understanding that this is one of the most difficult and contentious issues of our lifetime.”

    Correct Rep McNamara. It was worthy of more thought, consideration and a vote by the people as “one of the most difficult and contentious issues of our lifetime.” SMH

  2. It is a very decisive and contentious issue. This should not have been hurried through the legislative process. Needs to come before the people as a ballot referendum. Let the people decide directly, instead of indirectly through their representatives. Then everyone has a direct voice in the matter.

    1. Agreed. This is too important an issue to rush through like this. They are tow-towing to evangelicals, who insist on no compromises, instead of listening to the reasonable voices of the majority. They are afraid of a referendum, where a simple majority would prevail, so they’re relying on their gerrymandering to insulate them from the consequences of their ill-conceived actions. Will it work? We’ll find out in November.

    2. Agreed!
      It should be a bipartisan bill to accommodate sensible solutions to a complicatef
      contentious issue. Then put it up to the voters to decide.

    3. This need not be a contentious issue, if you believe (1) it is a matter for only the patient to decide and (2) it is wrong for state legislators to make it a religious issue (i.e., life begins at conception and is a divine gift).

  3. Ha Ha…. The dog caught the car. The court rulings have always made this a “safe” culture war/Wedge issue up until now. The Republicans are in a lose lose position of their own making. As a manufactured political issue whipped up in the 1970’s to capture the hard core Catholic vote to elect Nixon, and then sucking in Christain Evangelicals in the 1980’s, it culminated in a revisionist history of Abortion in America in the recent supreme court ruling.

    The inflamed pro-life rhetoric that has whipped up so many voters is coming back to bite them. For the 30+ percent that believed the propaganda the Republicans were were spewing, this does not go far enough. For the 60 percent (see Kansas vote) that believe Republicans are extending the heavy hand of government into what should be a women’s right to choose, this is going to cause an equal and opposite reaction.

    The Republicans are masters at generating conservative outrage with their wedge/culture war issues and now I hope they have gone too far for the average Indiana citizen. I hope enough people realize this is all just political manipulation to maintain political control and are motivated to vote for somebody that actually might do good for Indiana citizens.

  4. Agreed and thank you for your comments! I used to believe Indiana is a backward state. I’ve come around to believing our elected representatives are backward and out of touch (or just don’t care,) … not Hoosiers. Let us decide.

  5. The usual blah, blah, blah, from the various leftist IBJ posters who ignore the rights of the unborn child. Remember, all you geniuses, all rights begin with The Right to Life. Without that right, all the other rights you enjoy are moot points.

    For the umpteenth time, this is not a Biblical or philosophical issue: SCIENCE, not theologians or philosophers, has now proven that the DNA of the unborn child is different from the DNA of the mother carrying the child. Therefore, the unborn child is not “part of the mother’s body.” If it was, the unborn child’s DNA would be the same as that of the mother.

    But it isn’t, period.

    All you haters who preach we social conservatives and Christians are supposed to “respect science” as the ultimate authority on anything and everything are now free to post why science is wrong on this matter.

    1. Not all scientist agree. Hypocrisy at its best. How about valuing life outside the womb? Lower drug costs, health care, gun restrictions, wearing masks, environmental, climate etc. The GOP is against all of these.

    2. Bob P. – Here is the science. A fetus contains a mix of the DNA of the biological mother and the biological father (the father’s DNA being dominant. Because the fetus is physically connected to the mother by the umbilical cord for the delivery of vital fluids (without which the fetus cannot survive before the third trimester) it is therefore most certainly “a part of” the mother.

    3. There is no life without the mother – sorry about that, Bob. Go get a uterus and then you can do your thing.

  6. What happens with IVF? You have to throw out some fertilized eggs or you’ll have a litter. Hey Bob P, should these eggs be counted in the census?

  7. Bob P
    What happens with IVF? You have to throw out some fertilized eggs or you’ll have a litter. Hey Bob P, should these eggs be counted in the census?