Vice President Kamala Harris meets with Indiana lawmakers, abortion-rights advocates

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Vice President Kamala Harris met with Indiana Democrats at the Indiana State Library on Monday to admonish Republicans for introducing legislation to restrict abortion access (Peter Blanchard/IBJ)

Vice President Kamala Harris stopped in Indianapolis Monday as part of what appears to be a more aggressive and personal campaign for abortion rights and an effort to elevate Democratic lawmakers in red states as they oppose proposed abortion bans.

She arrived in Indianapolis on first day of the Republican-dominated Legislature’s special session, where the Indiana Senate is considering a bill to ban most abortions, with a few exceptions.

The vice president, a former prosecutor who has maintained that decisions on abortion should be left up to the person who is pregnant, told a roundtable of Indiana Democratic lawmakers and abortion-rights advocates that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade took away a constitutional right from American women.

“An individual should be able to choose based on their personal beliefs and the dictates of their faith, but the government should not be telling an individual what to do, especially as it relates to one of the most intimate and personal decisions a woman could make,” Harris said during a meeting at the Indiana State Library.

A block away at the Statehouse, thousands of demonstrators gathered to protest Senate Bill 1, which would ban all abortions except in cases of rape, incest, a fatal fetal anomaly and to protect the life of the mother.
Harris said such exceptions will still result in a near total ban of abortions in the state.

“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.

Indiana Democrats have criticized Senate Bill 1 as an attack on women’s rights, noting that it does not make exceptions for the health of the mother, while anti-abortion group Indiana Right to Life felt it didn’t go far enough, calling it “weak and troubling” for its lack of enforcement provisions and criminal penalties.

A poll by the COVID States Project found that 40 percent of Hoosiers support abortion if it could harm women’s health, while only 24 percent opposed it in those cases.

U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, D-Indianapolis, said the decision of whether to carry out a pregnancy should be left up to individuals, not politicians.

“For Republicans, overturning Roe is only the beginning,” Carson said. “Their very extreme agenda includes plans to criminalize abortion across our country, and next it will take aim at other basic human rights including birth control.”

Indiana House Minority Leader Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, said Democrats remain determined to keep abortion safe, legal and accessible for Hoosier women.”

“Unlike our colleagues on the right, we understand that abortion is a deeply personal decision that is best left up to a woman and her doctor, not members of the General Assembly,” Giaquinta said.

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a number of “trigger laws” went into effect in Republican-led states that effectively banned abortion immediately after the ruling. Despite having a supermajority in the legislature and a Republican governor, Indiana Republicans did not enact such a law, and for now abortion remains legal in the state up to 20 weeks post-fertilization.

Indiana Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, said Republicans had started a process that, if successful, “will have deadly outcomes for pregnant women in the state of Indiana” while noting that the state has the third highest maternal mortality rate in the nation.

“We want to make it clear that the supermajority’s effort to push a total ban through this legislature is not the will of the people of Indiana,” he said. “Women will not go quietly into the night.”

The Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking issued a statement Monday asking lawmakers to include a component in the legislation that ensures confidentiality and privacy for victims of rape and incest.

No victim should ever be required to publicly disclose their rape if abortion is outlawed in Indiana,” the statement read. “If a victim reports  a sexual assault to law enforcement, a public record is created that will follow a victim forever. Currently, 63 percent of victims do not report their rape to law enforcement. We believe a health care professional, in the context of treatment for the assault, is an appropriate alternative to law enforcement.”

Harris’ arrival in Indianapolis is the latest in a series of meetings with Democratic lawmakers in states where abortion access is, or has already been, greatly restricted, including Florida, Ohio, New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia.

The vice president last weekend visited Pennsylvania, where Attorney General Josh Shapiro is mounting a campaign to become the next governor. He faces Doug Mastriano, a far-right Republican state senator, in what’s expected to be a tight race that could determine the fate of abortion access in the Keystone State.

Indiana lawmakers have three weeks to pass an abortion bill. The special session is required to end by Aug. 14.

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12 thoughts on “Vice President Kamala Harris meets with Indiana lawmakers, abortion-rights advocates

  1. Quote: “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 be 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.

    1. So when Mike Pence flew in 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 dollop should offend anyone who is truly pro-life and cares about both the baby and the mom.

      But, please, keep on making it about race and gender. You ever concerned that you’re becoming quite the Pharisee?

  2. It’s nice to know our VP freely admits she knows what a woman is, and she knows how a woman’s reproductive system works, and it is vastly different than a man’s anatomy. Our recent supreme court appointee was unable to respond to these complicated questions.

    1. Right along with the nominees who said that Roe was settled law…

      And the justice who said that we should re-evaluate all that depends on the Due Process Clause, like same sex marriage or access to contraception… but neglected to mention interracial marriage, something that he took advantage of…

      But, sure, go on about how terrible the most recent Supreme Court justice is. Just call it both ways.

    1. There have been 17 mass shootings in America since Greenwood. We would need a condolence officer cabinet member if we expected the president/VP to begin visiting all of them.

      It is sad, but the Greenwood incident was not even the largest shooting event in Indianapolis that day… The Beech Grove incident ended with 3 dead and 5+ injured.

      Just the price of our wonderful freedom I suppose?

    2. James–

      That’s funny, I looked for a week-old shooting in BG and found one that yielded one casualty, three injured.

      No doubt a tragedy, but do you have any other lies that you’d care to disseminate for the sake of your narrative?

      Isn’t it funny how the highly regulatory anti-“freedom” places (either US or elsewhere) still have inordinate amounts of gun crime?

      Given that gun ownership increased exponentially after the 2020 Summer of Hate, a greater number of people than ever have a large distaste for firearm regulation. We never know when the party of love and tolerance might be prone to start a new riot; it usually happens on days that end in Y.

  3. I abortion was truly supported by 80% of the people (as some pro-abortion proponents and their media have stated), then it should be NO PROBLEM to get a new Amendment to the Constitution. Fact is, the “support” for abortion is much more complex, and on a detailed basis, much more limited. I suspect objective surveying would yield the following ranking of support:

    There would be highest support for legal abortion in cases of rape, incest, and to save the life of the Mother. From there, support for abortion will decline, inversely correlated to how far along the pregnancy is [i.e., support for abortion within the first trimester will be higher than support for abortion in the third trimester]. I doubt there would be much support for partial birth abortions (those performing and having those type of abortions have coined the term “Dilation and Extraction” to obfuscate the reality of the procedure), especially if a video of the procedure were made public…

    In a report by the Charlotte Lozier Institute several years ago, the group analyzed abortion laws in 198 countries and other independent or “semiautonomous” regions with more than 1 million residents. There are 59 countries that allow abortion “without restriction as to reason,” or “elective,” or “abortion on demand.” These are countries where the letter of the federal law does not impose specific eligibility requirements for women. The other 139 countries “require some reason to obtain an abortion, ranging from most restrictive (to save the life of the mother or completely prohibited) to least restrictive (socioeconomic grounds) with various reasons in between (e.g., physical health, mental health),” the report says.

    Only seven of the 59 countries allow elective abortions after 20 weeks, the group found: Canada, China, Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

    This list of countries correlates with another similar report, published by a group that supports reproductive rights. (The gestational limit breakdown has remained consistent since the Lozier report with the exception of Mozambique, according to the group.)

    According to the Washington Post (when they fact checked), “This statistic seemed dubious at first, because it seemed extreme for just seven countries out of 198 to allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. But upon further digging, the data back up the claim. We should note that some of the seven countries allow abortions after 20 weeks, but ban it after 24 weeks. And other countries have no federal limits, but legislate at the state or provincial level, similar to the United States.”

    1. LD, Republicans have the answer to your questions. They ran polls. That they haven’t released them to support their legislation – zero week ban, exceptions for rape/incest/health – speaks volumes.

  4. Kamala Harris did not disappoint. The ex San Francisco prosecutor supporting murder of the un born is exactly what you would expect from an Establishment Marxist.

    It always amazes me the the pro murder crowd utilizes the rape, and incest which is less than .01% of all pregnancies.

    The Republicans who have ran on the pro life issue now have an opportunity to fulfill there promise. But I think Rob Kendall stated it best. Indiana Republicans are like a dog chasing a car, if they catch it, then what will they run on, lower taxes, smaller government and less regulation, LMAO.

    I am pretty sure the Establishment wing of the Holcomb Republican party will fail to fill there promises and sell out to the pro murder crowd, this is about population control not women’s health.