Indianapolis ( Associated Press) – The Indiana House passed a bill Friday that would ban nearly all abortions in the state, sending the law back to the state Senate for changes in the House.
Members of the House put forward a nearly total abortion ban 62–38, including cases of rape and incest, and with limited exceptions to protect the life and physical health of the mother.
The measure now goes to the Senate. If approved, Indiana lawmakers would become the first in the country to pass a new law restricting access to abortion since the US Supreme Court removed its protected status as a constitutional right in June. The measure will then go to the government’s Eric Holcomb, who has not indicated whether he will sign it.
Republican Representative Wendy McNamara of Evansville, who sponsored the bill, said the legislation “reflects an understanding that this is one of the most difficult and controversial issues of our lifetime.”
Outside the House chamber on Friday, abortion-rights activists slammed the remarks of lawmakers between church and state carrying signs such as “Ro Ro Row Your Vote” and “Build this Wall.” Some House Democrats wore blazers over pink “Ban of Our Bodies” T-shirts.
The House version of the ban added exceptions to protect the health and life of the mother after persistent requests from doctors and others who testified before a Senate committee last week. It also allows abortion if a malignant anomaly is diagnosed in the fetus.
The bill additionally removes the Senate-approved time limit for abortion in cases of rape or incest—up to 12 weeks for those under the age of 16 and eight weeks for those 16 and older. Instead it imposes a complete ban on abortions after 10 weeks of fertilization in cases of rape and incest. Victims will not be required to sign a notarized affidavit confirming an assault.
Friday’s vote came nearly a week after the Republican-controlled Senate passed its ban with similar measures. State senators may consider an abortion ban backed by the House on Friday afternoon, when further changes are possible.
House and Senate legislators have listened to hours of testimony over the past two weeks, when residents on all sides of the issue have, rarely, supported the legislation. Protests from abortion-rights supporters said the bill goes too far while anti-abortion activists expressed that it doesn’t go far enough.
Indiana was one of the first Republican-run state legislatures to debate tougher abortion laws after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The proposed ban also came after a political storm over the 10-year-old rape victim, who had traveled to the state from neighboring Ohio, to terminate her pregnancy. The case attracted widespread attention when an Indianapolis doctor said the baby had come to Indiana because of Ohio’s “fetal palpitations” ban.
Democratic Rep. Maureen Bauer sheds tears about those in her South Bend district who oppose the bill — husbands standing behind their wives, fathers supporting their daughters — as well as women “who are demanding That we should be seen equally.”
Bauer’s remarks were followed by raucous cheers from hallway protesters and thunderous applause from fellow Democrats.
“You wouldn’t have thought these women would show up,” Bauer said. “Maybe you thought we wouldn’t notice.”
Legislators in West Virginia passed a chance to become the first state with a unified ban on July 29 after its House of Delegates refused to agree with Senate amendments that would reduce criminal penalties for physicians who perform illegal abortions. removes. Instead the delegates 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 push for a potential election-year.
The Indiana House vote further depicted a deeply divided chamber, which previously defeated an amendment that would have removed the exceptions for rape and incest. Most of the GOP members wanted to remove him.
The House vote and lawmakers’ discussion displayed a similar split seen in the Senate over the same exceptions, which remained in the Senate bill last week after an effort among senators failed.