Indiana abortion ban draws mixed reactions from both sides


Abortion-rights protesters fill Indiana Statehouse corridors and cheer outside legislative chambers, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, as lawmakers vote to concur on a near-total abortion ban, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Arleigh Rodgers)

(NewsNation) — On Friday, Indiana became the first state to restrict access to abortions since the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court in June.

The Indiana Senate approved the near-total ban 28-19, hours after House members advanced it 62-38. It includes limited exceptions, including in cases of rape and incest, and to protect the life and physical health of the mother. There are limits to these exceptions, however: in the case of rape and incest, victims cannot get an abortion 10 weeks post-fertilization.

Gov. Eric Holcomb, a Republican, announced that he signed the abortion bill into law at 11 p.m. ET that night.

Reaction came swiftly from both reproductive-rights advocates and anti-abortion advocates.

Gov. Eric Holcomb

In a statement, Holcomb said the legislation, Senate Bill 1, accomplishes his goal of “protecting life.”

“These actions followed long days of hearings filled with sobering and personal testimony from citizens and elected representatives on this emotional and complex topic,” he said. “Ultimately, those voices shaped and informed the final contents of the legislation and its carefully negotiated exceptions to address some of the unthinkable circumstances a woman or unborn child might face.”

White House

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in a statement called on Congress to act immediately to pass a law restoring Roe’s protection.

“The Indiana legislature took a devastating step as a result of the Supreme Court’s extreme decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate women’s constitutionally-protected right to abortion,” she said. “And it’s another radical step by Republican legislators to take away women’s reproductive rights and freedom and put personal health care decisions in the hands of politicians rather than women and their doctors.”

Indiana Democratic Party

“The Indiana Republican Party has now made it against the law for Hoosiers to have a safe and legal abortion, and it’s without a doubt Senate Bill 1 will endanger women and little girls’ lives across the state,” Myla Eldridge, vice chair of the Indiana Democratic Party, said according to NewsNation local affiliate FOX59. “A woman’s health care decisions should be left between her and her doctor – not politicians. With Senate Bill 1, Indiana Republicans are invading a person’s right to privacy and are actively making women second-class citizens. Republicans have shown Hoosiers they put an extremist agenda first, and now is the time for voters to hold them accountable.”   

Indiana State Republicans

“The Indiana Senate today passed legislation to protect life, support pregnant and new mothers and their families, provide financial relief for Hoosiers and pay down state debt,” State Republicans said, per Fox 59. “The new law does not affect access to the morning-after pill or any other method of birth control, does not affect treatment of miscarriages, does not affect treatment of ectopic pregnancies, does not affect in-vitro fertilization procedures and does not criminalize women seeking an abortion.”

IU Health

IU Health, which operates 16 hospitals, said it will take the next few weeks to fully understand the new law’s terms and how to incorporate these changes into its medical practice.

“At IU Health, we take seriously our responsibility to provide access to compassionate and safe, high-quality healthcare for anyone who needs it,” the healthcare system said. “IU Health’s priority remains ensuring our physicians and patients have clarity when making decisions about pregnancy within the limits of the law.”

Eli Lilly and Co.

The Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical company, and one of the state’s largest employers, said it is concerned Indiana’s new law will “hinder” its ability to attract “diverse scientific, engineering and business talent from around the world.”

“While we have expanded our employee health plan coverage to include travel for reproductive services unavailable locally, that may not be enough for some current and potential employees,” Eli Lilly and Co. said. “As a global company headquartered in Indianapolis for more than 145 years, we work hard to retain and attract thousands of people who are important drivers of our state’s economy. Given this new law, we will be forced to plan for more employment growth outside our home state.”

ACLU of Indiana

The ACLU of Indiana said Friday was “a dark day in the state of Indiana,” adding in a tweet that the near-ban on abortion turns “back the clock 50 years on Hoosiers’ fundamental right to control their own bodies.”

After Holcomb signed the law, the organization said it is “cruel an unconscionable.”

“We won’t stop fighting — Hoosiers still have rights. #BansOffIndiana,” the state’s ACLU chapter tweeted.

Students for Life Action

While some conservative activists and organizations praised the bill, others, such as Students for Life Action, argue that it doesn’t go far enough, as it has exceptions for those who are victims of rape or incest, and there are no criminal penalties for people who provide abortions in it.

“This bill is absolutely out of touch with Indiana citizens, who want real protections for preborn Hoosiers,” said Titus Folks, SFLAction Political Coordinator.

Guttmacher Institute

The Guttmacher Insitute, which supports abortion rights, told the New York Times that what happened in Indiana could also give a glimpse of the dynamic in other state legislatures in coming weeks.

“In Indiana, the legislators are now between a rock and a hard place,” Elizabeth Nash, state policy analyst at the Guttmacher Institute, told the newspaper, explaining that lawmakers have to please both their base, which is demanding abortion bans with no exceptions, and members of the public who support abortion access. “You can see how the legislators, who are balancing people’s rights, are also looking at the next election.”

Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates

Jennifer Allen, CEO of Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, said the legislation is an “outrageous” attack on maternal health.

“The Indiana government is inserting itself into private decisions about when and whether to have children and it is unconscionable and unacceptable,” she said. “We cannot let extremist Indiana lawmakers take away our control over our own bodies. We must put the people of Indiana first and stop this ban here, now, and permanently.”

The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate Fox59 contributed to this report.

© 1998 - 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved.

Trending on NewsNation

Elections 2022

More Elections 2022