The Indy Chamber on Thursday morning urged Indiana lawmakers to pause their work on legislation that would ban abortion in most circumstances and take more time to gather information about how the proposal would affect women and health care providers.
“Over the last two weeks, the Indiana General Assembly has debated a substantial policy change on the issue of abortion in a compressed timeframe,” the statement reads. “Such an expedited legislative process—rushing to advance state policy on broad, complex issues—is, at best, detrimental to Hoosiers, and at worst, reckless.
In its first public statement about the contentious legislation, the region’s business association said Senate Bill 1—which has passed the Indiana Senate and is under consideration in the House—raises questions that will be difficult to address in a special session, which can last no more than 40 days.
Indy Chamber said lawmakers need time to “craft solutions that address fundamental, unanswered questions.” Among them, Indy Chamber said, are:
- How will Indiana improve its poor infant and maternal health outcomes, particularly for women of color and women from low-income households?
- How will physicians balance their legal risk against the health and well-being of women and infants?
- Will Hoosier employers retain the right to set policies regarding employee benefits and health plans that are necessary to meet their employees’ needs?
- How will Indiana retain and attract talent to grow its economy in today’s global labor marketplace?
- Will the Indy region continue to attract tourism and convention investments that contribute to the entire state’s economic outlook?
As passed by the Republican-controlled Senate, the legislation 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.
The GOP-majority House has amended the bill to allow abortions to protect the health of the mother. The House also removed the requirement for notarized affidavits for rape and incest victims.
The Indy Chamber’s statement comes a day after leaders of Gen Con, one of the city’s largest conventions, expressed their opposition to the proposed ban and suggested that the organization could end its relationship with the state over the issue.
“I want to note that we are deeply troubled by the action currently under way in the Indiana General Assembly,” said David Hoppe, president of Gen Con. “Passage of Senate Bill 1 will have an impact on our stakeholders and attendees and will make it more difficult for us to remain committed to Indiana as our long-term annual home.”