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Indiana lawmakers comment on first state abortion ban since Roe overturned

Written by Javed Iqbal

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Indiana lawmakers approved a nearly total ban on abortion on Friday, making the state the first in the nation to enact sweeping limits on access to the procedure since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.

The Republican-dominated state Senate passed the legislation on a 28-19 vote that had divided GOP lawmakers over how far the ban should go. Before Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed the bill into law on Friday, some GOP members had expressed support for allowing abortion in cases of rape and incest, while others opposed the bill because of those exceptions.

The measure, which takes effect on September 15, allows abortion only in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal abnormality, or when the procedure is necessary to prevent serious health risks or death. Here’s what some state officials said about the ban:

“The body inside mom’s body is not her body. Let me repeat that: The body inside mom’s body is not her body. Not her body, not her choice,” said Jacob, a a staunch abortion opponent who supported removing exemptions, including for rape.

“Trying to end all abortion is not forced childbirth, but rather it is trying to end the murder of children,” he said on the floor.

“Lord, I am not a murderer. And my sisters are not murderers either,” she said.

Pack told the chamber she had a miscarriage in 1990 while serving in the Army, according to the Indianapolis Star. “We’re pro-choice. That’s who we are,” she added. “We believe we’re in command of our own bodies.”

“I think we’ve landed in a great place and a great policy for the state of Indiana,” McNamara said sponsored the House bill. She told reporters the ban “makes Indiana one of the most pro-life states in the nation.”

Indiana enacts nearly total abortion ban, first state to do so since Roe

Bohacek, who voted against the bill, could not finish his testimony as he spoke about his daughter, who has Down syndrome, and his concerns about protecting rape victims with disabilities. “If she loses her favorite stuffed animal, she’s inconsolable,” he said. “Imagine having her carry a child to term,” he said before they choke and step away.

Pryor referred to the recent case of a 10-year-old rape victim who had to travel to Indiana for the procedure because abortions are now banned in Ohio after six weeks. “I just don’t understand why we would force a baby, really at 10 years old, to have a baby,” Pryor said.

“By closing abortion clinics and limiting abortions to only the most heartbreaking cases, we are making tremendous progress for the pro-life movement,” said Leising, who called Friday “a monumental day.” according to WRTV in Indianapolis. She said the ban should be “combined with funding increases targeting pregnancy services and easing the financial burden of adoption.”

“Eight of us in this chamber have ever had the opportunity to become pregnant, yet we are telling millions of Hoosier women what they can do with their bodies,” she said.

Breaux described the legislation as an affront to democracy, “Women should have the right to make these decisions in consultation with their doctors, not their state legislators,” she wrote in a tweet.

Vermilion condemned other Republicans for describing women who get abortions as murderers. “I believe the Lord’s promise is for grace and kindness,” she said, according to Associated Press. “He would not jump to condemn these women.”

“After the overturning of Roe, I said clearly that I would be willing to support legislation that made progress in protecting life,” he said in a statement. After days of hearings and testimony, he said the legislation “and its carefully negotiated exemptions” addressed “some of the unimaginable circumstances a woman or an unborn child can face.”

“I am personally most proud of every single Hoosier who came forward to bravely share their views in a debate that is unlikely to end anytime soon,” Holcomb added.

Amy Cheng and Kim Bellware contributed to this report.

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Javed Iqbal

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