Indiana Governor Signs Near-Total Abortion Ban

The state made national news recently when a 10-year-old Ohio girl who had been raped traveled to Indiana to get an abortion.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed a bill Friday that bans abortion at every stage of pregnancy with very few exceptions.

The measure passed the state House on Friday afternoon in a 62-38 vote, with nine Republicans voting against it. Late Friday night, the state Senate followed up with a 28-19 vote.

The near-total ban is set to take effect on Sept. 15.

Holcomb, a Republican who describes himself as “pro-life,” swiftly signed the bill that made his state the first in the nation to pass new anti-abortion legislation since the Supreme Court decision.

“I am personally most proud of each Hoosier who came forward to courageously share their views in a debate that is unlikely to cease any time soon,” Holcomb said in a statement announcing his approval of the ban.

“For my part as your governor, I will continue to keep an open ear.”

The statehouse has been filled with protesters as the lawmakers debated during the special session.

Protesters have filled the Indiana statehouse to try to stop the legislature from passing an abortion ban.
Protesters have filled the Indiana statehouse to try to stop the legislature from passing an abortion ban.
Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Indiana has seven abortion clinics that serve roughly 1.3 million women of reproductive age in the state ― although, since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, many more people seeking abortions have been coming to the state from elsewhere.

Indiana made national headlines recently when a 10-year-old girl in Ohio traveled to the state to seek an abortion. She had been raped repeatedly and became pregnant. But she could no longer get an abortion in her own state, because Ohio ― like a number of other states ― immediately enacted restrictive laws banning most abortions.

Indiana’s bill does allow for abortions in cases of rape and incest, which were included over the objections of some Republican lawmakers.

But the fact that those exceptions exist should not make the bill seem any less extreme.

Though abortions stemming from rape and incest are often some of the most tragic circumstances, they are a very small percentage of overall abortions. Focusing on these two categories can give cover for states that do have bans with these exceptions.

And even when these exceptions exist, it is often incredibly difficult for pregnant people to meet the standards required to qualify.

The Indiana legislature and governor’s swift passage of this near-total ban on abortions comes just after voters in the conservative state of Kansas decisively rejected an amendment that would have removed protections for abortion access from the state constitution.

“The extremist lawmakers who forced this bill through a special session clearly could not care less about what their constituents want or need,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju said. “It’s appalling that they’re going to these lengths to block people from accessing abortion care, and they should be ashamed of themselves.”

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