Indiana Senate narrowly passes near-total abortion ban

Indiana state senators narrowly passed a near-total abortion ban Saturday during a rare weekend session, sending the bill to the House after a contentious week of arguments over whether to allow exceptions for rape and incest.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 26-20 after about three hours of debate, passing the bill with the minimum 26 votes needed to send it on to the House, which Republicans also control.

Senate Bill 1 would prohibit abortions from the time a fertilized egg implants in a uterus. Exceptions would be allowed to prevent “a substantial permanent impairment of the life of the mother” or in cases of rape and incest, but a patient seeking an abortion for rape or incest would have to sign a notarized affidavit attesting to the attack.

Indiana is one of the first Republican-controlled states to debate tighter abortion laws since the U.S. Supreme Court last month overturned the precedent establishing a national right to an abortion.

But the GOP splintered after the rape and incest exceptions remained in the bill Thursday when an amendment failed that would have stripped out those exceptions.

Ten Republican senators voted against the legislation Saturday, including a handful who support abortion rights.

One of them, Republican Sen. Vaneta Becker of Evansville, said the measure will interfere with women’s medical choices, their lives and free will by setting strict limits on abortion access in Indiana.

“Women deserve to have us protect their lives and free will. Senate Bill 1 destroys both. Shame on us for doing this,” she said, noting that only eight of Senate’s 50 members are women.

“We are considering dictating medical decisions with blinders and ignorant of the astounding, unintended consequences we are creating,” Becker warned, saying the Senate is “just making a mess.”

Republican Sen. Mike Young, whose amendment calling for no exceptions except for the life of the mother previously failed, said he voted against the bill not because he agrees with its opponents but because he has qualms with some aspects of the legislation he hopes are addressed.

Young said one provision that concerns him states that a doctor can perform an abortion if he believes a woman’s life is in danger but it doesn’t require the doctor to inform that woman that her life is in danger.

“She may never know the reasons why. I just think it’s important when a person makes the most important decision of their life they ought to know if their life is in danger, and what are the reasons why it’s in danger,” he said.

GOP Sen. Sue Glick of LaGrange, who authored the abortion bill, said during the debate she doesn’t expect the legislation approved by the Senate to be the final version the legislature passes. She called the Senate bill “an expression of where we believe the state of Indiana is right now.”

The legislation’s passage “is a huge step forward in protecting the life of the unborn children in our state,” Glick said in a statement after the bill’s approval.

“We have put together a bill that would not criminalize women and would protect the unborn whose voices have been silenced for the past 50 years under Roe v Wade,” she added.

Ten of the Senate’s 11 Democrats voted against the bill, with the 11th member absent for Saturday’s debate.

Democratic Sen. Tim Lanane of Anderson condemned the bill as a product of a male-dominated Legislature that’s poised to take away the control that pregnant women should have over their own bodies.

“This is the government, the male-dominated government of the state of Indiana, saying to the women of this state, you lose your choice,” he said. “We’ve told you—papa state, big state government—is going to tell you what you will do with your body. And I don’t think we’re ready for that.”

The bill now heads to the House, where proposed changes could come as soon as next week—the second week of lawmakers’ three-week special session. Lawmakers must adjourn their session by Aug. 14.

House Speaker Todd Huston on Friday declined to discuss specifics of the Senate bill. But he said he supports the rape and incest exceptions.

Gov. Eric Holcomb said earlier this summer that he had no “red lines” on what anti-abortion measures lawmakers might consider. But on July 12 Holcomb sidestepped taking a stance on how far the Republican-dominated Legislature should go in restricting abortions in its special session.

A national poll this month found an overwhelming majority of Americans believe their state should generally allow abortion in specific cases, including if a woman’s life is endangered or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Few think abortion should always be illegal, according to The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll.

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34 thoughts on “Indiana Senate narrowly passes near-total abortion ban

  1. I was born in the early 1950s, but don’t remember much from those years. Now the Indiana legislature is on the precipice of sending us all back 60 years and we’ll be able to witness what pandering politicians have created.

    1. You don’t? I was born in 1955 and I remember quite well. I also remember when the original “interpretation” of the Constitution in Roe versus Wade was passed. The entire premise was that abortions would now be legal but would be intended to be “rare” and not used as “contraception.”
      This might actually cause people to use actual contraception, of which there are hundreds of different kinds. Also, if you can’t afford contraception, it can be acquired for free. Insisting on abortion is like insisting on using a carriage and horse when cars are available instead.

    2. Neil D. ~ So you think all abortions are performed for the sake of “family planning”? It’s glaringly obviously you either ignore or are unaware that there are medical abnormalities which develop late in pregnancies that pose a serious risk to both the fetus and the mother. The only hope to save the mother’s life is to perform an abortion, a decision that can only be made by a physician in consultation with the mother, not by a politician who listened only to those who wanted to ban all abortion no matter what, ban all contraceptives no matter what, and ban the individual rights our Republic guarantees all of us. The arbitrary and capricious parameters established by this law will lead to unintended consequences for the mother and the physician.

    3. Brent–you are describing a situation that happens in about 2-3 pregnancies every decade. In most cases, thanks to modern medicine, an abortion is more invasive and MORE dangerous than a c-section.

      It’s a standard exploitation of the availability heuristic: choose a worst case scenario, elevate it to prominence, and convince people it is the status quo when it’s the rare and extreme outlier. Same strategy used for publicizing police shootings of unarmed black men, same strategy for classifying mass shootings (esp. school shootings), same for the typically less political plane crashes.

      It’s a brilliant propagandistic tool, I’ll admit that. But it’s completely intellectually dishonest. Then again, if forcing new outcomes are the goal, it doesn’t really matter if the process of getting there is completely falsified to manipulate public sentiment. As a certain hero we’ll call Joey Steel once said, “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths are a statistic.”

      The staggering moral arrogance of people who think they are the voice of “progress”…it’s no different than the religious fundamentalists of previous centuries.

    1. Don’t worry, Clark, the state won’t be able to afford a door without the tax revenue, but you and your friends will still do a good job of ensuring the state looks like an ass without one.

    2. Clark B. ~ Spoken like a modern evangelical Christian. God must be proud of you.

    3. I’d help you pack, but people that make these claims almost never follow through.

  2. My understanding was it also included an exemption for the life of the mother, did THEY leave that out or did YOU purposely leave that out of this article for obvious political reason? If so, JUST REPORT THE FACTS… and let people decide!!!!’n

    1. Well, don’t you kinda have to have the mother alive for the fetus/embryo to survive? Hey, I know – let’s take that fetus/embryo out …at how many weeks now? six? – and let the legislators take care of it. You know, since women don’t have a say anymore…

    1. You say that, Clark but businesses will leave and young adults will not want to move here. You can’t see it but this is very unpopular and will hurt our state. What happens when people don’t come here or spend money here? Most importantly the girls and women of our state have just lost bodily autonomy. Infuriating.

    2. Yup. The brain drain is just going to continue, if not accelerate. Companies that are drivers of the knowledge economy will avoid us, as will all of the people who work for them. It doesn’t matter what way you spin it, this is bad for Indiana. People are advocating to wreck the economy just to be religious zealots.

    3. It’s very unpopular in your echo chamber, Meredith.

      It’s so hilarious hearing all this talk of brain-drain when the biggest drained states in terms of net population loss are California, Illinois, and New York. And where are they moving? Maybe not to Indiana in droves, but they are to places like TX, TN, SC and FL…places just as if not more “anti-choice” than Indiana.

    4. People aren’t moving to Indiana *at all*. More people move out of Indiana than move in each year, according to the US Census. The only reason we grow is because of natural birth rates. Unsurprisingly, the places in Indiana, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Florida that are growing are the more liberal cities and metropolitan areas. The conservative rural areas are dying and people are fleeing. The Chicago metro area has continued to grow while conservative, rural Illinois continues to suffer and die out. California isn’t growing because uber-wealthy residents are using zoning as a gate-keeping device (price points are more reflective of demand than migration patterns). Nuance is important.

    5. Great points Lauren as usual.
      The progressive left refuse to acknowledge their own extremism.

      I ask them at what point dies the viability of the unborn take precedent to
      the right of being born.

    6. A T–

      Always some way to worm around the argument, isn’t there?

      The old “liberal cities and metropolitan areas”–are we really going to pretend that Tampa and Orlando are liberal compared to Seattle and Los Angeles and San Francisco? And the suburbs of most of these places–the places that are absorbing the highest rates of population growth–are still very conservative.

      I know binary, black-or-white thinking is important for goggle eyed partisans, but a smart balance between left-leaning urban centers (where entrepreneurial experimentation is high but so are start-up costs) makes a balance between right-leaning suburbs (where things are cheaper and less regulated but there is more apprehension to try new things).

      Yes, many rural areas are struggling and losing population. But so are the impoverished inner-city ghettoes, which are all invariable Democrat.

      Meanwhile, Chicago is losing population. So are its suburbs. Even posh Lake County IL is estimated to be losing population. Metro Indy is growing much much faster. Illinois as a whole is not a desirable place to do business, in no small part because Chicago-style thinking affects the entire state, even though only about 4% of its land really can justify the high taxes and regulations. Nice try though with the “nuance” though!

  3. This is why educated young folk put us in the same column as Mississippi, and West Virginia. Actually, one of many,😪
    Good luck Lilly and Sales Force recruiting…

    1. John R. – It hasn’t stopped major economic expansions from going to the
      much more conservative red states. In fact the vast majority of economic
      expansions and migration as Lauren B. Mentioned are to SC, TN, Texas, Florida,
      Ect…. from the more progressive Blue States.
      And not by a little either.

    2. Oh, those coveted young people! They’re so smart and wise. We need to cater to them and be more like Oregon and Washington, or California. EVERYBODY’s moving there!

      Let’s bring back sidewalk defecation like we had during COVID-19. It was very progressive.

      Young people are notoriously fickle and even more consistently stupid. They have no realm of experience upon which to base the opinions that they are very happy to vocalize. I’m not that old yet, but, when I was young, I definitely looked down on Indiana for not being “progressive enough”. Then again, I was stupid.

  4. As a woman early in pregnancy, this absolutely terrifies me. This bill does not take into account if my baby were to have a chromosomal abnormality that would make life excruciatingly painful, or to where the baby would not be able to live outside the womb at all. I’m sorry but no politician to force a woman to carry a baby to full term if the baby had no chance of survival.

    1. Thank you, K.K.,
      Remarkable to me how the male absolutists on this topic expose themselves to be ignorant asses.

      About 10 to 15% of pregnancies in the US end in miscarriages. Before our firstborn, my wife had two. The first was later in the pregnancy, starting with bleeding, which got worse over a period of 48 hours. Painful, horrifying mentally, hoping against hope not to “lose the child”. Doctor confirmation that the pregnancy is over. As was the case for my wife, later miscarriages require a clearing of the uterus which is physically the same operation as an abortion.

      It’s almost a certainty that doctors will be reluctant to provide this service or will delay the decision as bad faith activists (Exhibit A – our own attorney general) attempt to accuse and discredit good doctors of performing illegal abortions. Out of that will come negative health effects and death on occasion of these same ignorant male asses daughters, wives or granddaughters.

      This is just one of whole host of unintended consequences that our state will be forced to deal with as a result of uncompromising zealotry and a refusal to comprehend or acknowledge the importance of nuance in complicated decisions.

    2. K K, they want you to have that baby. You’ll figure out the entire experience was a blessing later.

      The pseudo “pro-life” movement is a bunch of Catholic extremists who think sex is only for procreation along with a bunch of conservative Christians who think that anyone who has sex outside of heterosexual marriage is a sinner who should be punished. Plus, more folks in desperate need are an opportunity for a bunch of folks to avail themselves of their services and maybe become believers.

      Why else would Indiana Right to Life , in a state with terrible materinal outcomes, not be pushing for more money for women and babies, and in fact has been arguing against more government support for women and infants? They don’t want the competition. They claim that after 50 years, Hoosiers will now step up. Sure, and they’ll stop complaining about class basketball too.

      For instance, the cheapest childcare is frequently available at local churches. That’s in part because they don’t have to follow the same standards as other childcare facilities because it would impinge upon their religious liberty. Sure, you have the occasional child who wanders off and drowns in the baptistery, but that’s just God’s Will. It’s definitely not a time for government to step in and insist that if taxpayers are spending money, it’s not for substandard childcare.

    3. This pregnancy is my third. My first was an ectopic pregnancy that had to be ended. My second yielded a healthy daughter, this one who knows… I have always loved living in Indiana and decided to raise my family here. Honestly, this year has me thinking what kind of future my daughter even has here. If men who can’t even identify the parts of the female reproductive system are making laws for forcing women to proceed with unwanted, dangerous, or non viable pregnancies… what good would come from it? Please represent the people of the state (especially women of childbearing years) and hear our voice, rather than following your ideologies.

    4. K K, the couch-fainting femininity is really too much. You do our sex a disservice.

      At one point in time I felt the same way but recognized that it does me no favors living in an ideological echo chamber, so I did try to mingle with what I saw as insufferable Bible-beaters: the pro-life Evangelicals, basically none of whom think a woman should stay out of the workplace, are perfectly happy elevating women to the highest office, and generally support improved maternal benefits. Though most don’t support sex outside of marriage, they are generally okay with contraception for those married couples who don’t seek further children.

      These are just as much the people making laws as the “men who can’t even identify the parts of the female reproductive system”…which, though no doubt true in some cases, doesn’t nullify the indisputable fact that that female reproductive system cannot conceive without the male gamete, and do we expect women to know exactly how male plumbing works? Just because you and I aren’t pro-life doesn’t many plenty of other Indiana women (quite possibly a majority) are. I’ve gotten some serious teeth-gnashing from the pro-lifers for my refusal to budge after beyond permitting abortions within the first trimester…but the best way for me to show my disapproval of the IN General Assembly is through a vote, not by pretending my life’s going to collapse because a majority of people in my state see abortion as legalized murder. I have to come to terms with this like other laws with which I disagree. And work to educate other people of my case, which isn’t going to happen

      But it is fun hearing ideologues like Tim D gripe and moan about “uncompromising zealotry and a refusal to comprehend or acknowledge the importance of nuance in complicated decisions” — which, based on how Tim presents things, means “if you don’t agree with me you’re a zealot”.

    5. Lauren, how many children are you planning on having if/when this passes? How many daughters do you have to worry about this affecting? I’m not doing my “gender” a disservice. I am pointing out that I have skin in the game and a genuine worry. I studied embryology in college. I also studied physiology extensively… so yes I do know how the male reproductive system works, also understand how how embryos to fetuses to babies are developed and what can go wrong. I also understand the statistics of how many girls and women are molested/ sexually abused/raped in their lifetime.

    6. K K–

      Regarding rape, are you going to pretend it’s 35% of women like our sham universities are convincing women to believe it is? As for my children, only one son–sorry–but I can never imagine worrying about my hypothetical daughter, because I would like to assume that the children I raise will be sufficiently sexually self-disciplined (son included) that abortion is something there’s little chance they will face.

      Just imagine: engage in fully responsible sexual behavior (this goes for the woman AND man in a relationship) and you’ll almost certainly never face this situation. This doesn’t mean you need outright abstinence. But the opportunities for contraception are abundant. Abortion, which should remain safe legal and RARE, is not a substitute for this. Only people who think abortion is or should be an easy, commonly chosen path–something you can get done on a lunch break–would see themselves as oppressed by this. Beyond that, it’s just encouraging people to be sexually responsible. Which apparently is a dirty word.

  5. Moral considerations aside. The this could be an issue that influences
    future economic expansions in our state as more companies make
    social issues into consideration. More companies are seeing social issues
    as consideration factor in determining how successfully they can recruit and retain talent in a given location.

  6. Loren B. their are hundreds of ER runs due to the deplorable conditions and money above all else abortion and “Planned Parenthood” clinics every month.

    By the way ?Planned Parenthood” is just their legal name.

    There is no planning. Just greedy people who want to make money.

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