LIVE BLOG: Special Session for proposed abortion ban enters day two

Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 1:01 PM EDT
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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WPTA) - Senate Republicans gathered at the Indiana Statehouse on Wednesday, July 20, to unveil plans for abortion restrictions ahead of the July 25 special session.

ABC21 reported in March that Hoosier Republicans in both the House and Senate wrote a letter to Governor Holcomb, asking him to call them back into session if the U.S. supreme court overturns Roe v. Wade, which they officially did on June 24.

During a press conference on July 20, Senate Republicans announced their Senate Bill 1, which seeks to ban abortions with limited exceptions.

SB 1 DETAILS

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) says proposed bill SB 1 seeks to ban abortions except when the life of the mother is at risk, rape, and incest.

“Being pro-life is not about criminalizing women, it’s about preserving the dignity of life and helping mothers bring happy, healthy babies into the world,” State Sen. Sue Glick (R-LaGrange) said.

Sen. Glick said the bill does not include new penalties for doctors or punishment for mothers. The existing penalty that allows for a doctor’s license to be revoked if they perform an illegal abortion will remain in place.

She also says the bill does not impact access to IVF, or ending an ectopic pregnancy or a pregnancy where there is a fatal fetal anomaly. Sen. Glick also noted that this does not affect access to the morning after pill, known as Plan B, or any other method of birth control.

Republican legislators unveil plans for abortion legislation Wednesday afternoon.
Republican legislators unveil plans for abortion legislation Wednesday afternoon.(Staff)

SPECIAL SESSION BEGINS

The bill was introduced at 11 a.m. on Monday, July 25, at the previously planned special session at the Indiana Statehouse.

The Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedures heard the first round of public testimony from 1 to 5 p.m. on Monday, with the second round of testimony planned for Tuesday, July 26, with a vote expected to follow.

Vice President Kamala Harris landed in Indianapolis Monday, July 25, to meet with state legislators and leaders to discuss the abortion ban bills Indiana Republicans are proposing. She led a reproductive rights roundtable at 11:30 a.m.

“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 the roundtable.

SPECIAL SESSION DAY TWO

The Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedures is set to hear the second round of public testimony on Tuesday, July 26, from 9 a.m. to noon. The committee will vote on the bill following the second round of testimony.

Also planned for the second day of the session is Indiana Right to Life’s ‘Love Them Both Rally’, set for 11 a.m. at the North Atrium of the Statehouse. The anti-abortion group says buses from around the state will be coming to the Statehouse on Tuesday for the rally.

By 11 a.m., hundreds of anti-abortion advocates gathered in the atrium of the statehouse for the rally. The group is urging legislators to add more restrictions to the proposed abortion ban, which they say lacks provisions for enforcement mechanisms.

“The pro-life movement denounces this bill for what it is—a wolf in sheep’s clothing designed to expand abortion on demand in the state of Indiana,” Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, said.

Around 1 p.m. Tuesday, the committee voted 7-5 to pass Senate Bill 1. It passed with at least one amendment, which says rape and incest victims over the age of 16 cannot get an abortion after 8 weeks. Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) took issue with that amendment.

“Under their changes, rape and incest exceptions are limited at 8 weeks over the age of 16—before a woman may even be aware that she’s pregnant,” Taylor said. “This amendment is needlessly cruel and excessively uncompassionate, and I’m disgusted that it was even introduced let alone passed. I hope the rest of my Republican colleagues are more receptive to Hoosier voices and to the voices of doctors and kill this bill before doing irreversible damage to our state.”

Dozens of amendments were up for consideration on Tuesday, largely from democrats who were looking to keep some abortion protections in place. However, none of those amendments received support.

The bill will now head to the full Senate for further debate and review.

PRO-CHOICE REACTION

The ACLU of Indiana, Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, Women4Change Indiana, and local group Women United For Progress Allen County (WUFPAC) held a rally at the statehouse on the first day of the special session, Monday, July 25. Thousands of protesters gathered for that rally Monday morning, waiting for their chance to testify during public comment.

“It terrifies me. There are tons of people that need access to abortion care. As they restrict abortion, they’re restricting sex ed, they’re restricting access to reproductive health. And again they’re restricting access to that can be used for ectopic pregnancies. That is also absolutely essential for millions of Americans and women for health care issues,” Suzanne Barber, a protester from Lafayette, said.

On Tuesday, July 19, the ACLU of Indiana responded to the proposed legislation, saying over 200 Hoosier businesses have signed a letter showing their support for abortion access. The group says the letter seeks to highlight the importance of reproductive healthcare, saying, “Restricting access to comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion, threatens the health, independence and economic stability of our employees and customers. Simply put, it goes against our values, and is bad for business.” You can read the full letter and list of signees here.

RELATED: ‘WUFPAC’ speaks out on proposed abortion legislation

ANTI-ABORTION REACTION

Groups like Indiana Right to Life argued that the proposed bill does not go far enough in restricting abortions. The group planned a rally against the legislation on Tuesday, July 26, at 11 a.m. at the Indiana Statehouse.

However, some of those who are in favor of abortion restrictions showed up at the statehouse on Monday to make their voices heard on the first day of public testimony. David Mervar said he thought it was so important to be there that he made the nearly two-hour trip from northeast Indiana.

“My message would be one thing: it’s always right to do right, it’s always wrong to do wrong. A lot of you guys ran on pro-life campaigns, let’s see your put your money where your mouth is at now,” Mervar said.

WHAT CURRENT ABORTION LAW SAYS

Abortion in Indiana is banned after 22 weeks of pregnancy, with some provisions for medical emergencies. Before an abortion, patients must undergo an 18-hour waiting period. Medication abortion cannot be administered after 10 weeks of pregnancy. Telemedication abortions are prohibited in Indiana.

Medical providers must tell patients about the risks involved in abortion and must say the fetus can feel pain around 20 weeks, which is disputed by doctors and medical professionals. Providers must report complications related to abortion. Failure to report can result in a misdemeanor charge, 180 days in jail, and a $1,000 fine.

A person may not lawfully or knowingly perform a partial-birth abortion unless a physician reasonably believes it is necessary to save the life of the mother and that no other medical procedure is sufficient.

Indiana requires that abortions after the first trimester of pregnancy must be performed in a hospital or licensed surgical center. Read more about the current law here.

This is a live blog that will be continually updated as more information is released.

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