Indiana Senate narrowly passes near-total abortion ban

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana state senators narrowly passed a near-total abortion ban on Saturday in a rare weekend session, sending the bill to the House after a week controversy of arguments about 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 to the House, which Republicans also control.

The bill would ban abortions once a fertilized egg implants in a uterus. Exceptions would be allowed for rape and incest, but a patient wishing to abort for either reason would have to sign a notarized affidavit attesting to the assault.

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

But the GOP split after the rape and incest exceptions remained in the bill Thursday when an amendment failed, it would have removed those exceptions.

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

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

“Women deserve that we protect their lives and their agency. Senate Bill 1 destroys both. Shame on us for doing this,” she said, noting that only eight of the 50 members of the Senate are women.

“We plan to dictate medical decisions with blinders on and ignoring the amazing, unintended consequences we create,” Becker warned, saying the Senate is “just making a mess.”

Republican Sen. Mike Young, whose amendment calling for no exceptions except mother’s life had previously failed, said he voted against the bill not because he was to agreement with his opponents, but because he had qualms with certain aspects of the legislation which he hopes will be addressed. .

Young said a provision relevant to him says a doctor can perform an abortion if he thinks a woman’s life is in danger, but it doesn’t require the doctor to tell that woman that her life is in danger. in danger.

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

GOP Senator Sue Glick de LaGrange, who drafted the abortion bill, said during the debate that she does not expect the legislation approved by the Senate to be the final version passed by the legislature. She called the Senate bill “an expression of the current state of Indiana.”

The passage of the legislation “is a huge step forward in protecting the lives of unborn children in our state,” Glick said in a statement after the bill was approved.

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

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

Democratic Sen. Tim Lanane of Anderson condemned the bill as the product of a male-dominated legislature that is on the verge of removing the control pregnant women should have over their own bodies.

“It’s the government, the male-dominated state government of Indiana, telling the women of this state, you lose your choice,” he said. “We told you – daddy state, big state government – ​​is going to tell you what to do with your body. And I don’t think we’re ready for that.

The bill is now heading to the House, where the proposed changes could arrive as early as next week – the second week of lawmakers’ three-week special session. Lawmakers must adjourn their session by August 14.

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

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

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


Arleigh Rodgers is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on underreported issues. Follow her on Twitter at


Find AP’s full coverage of the overthrow of Roe v. Wade at:

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