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Indiana passes near total abortion ban

The bill bans all abortions except in cases of rape, incest, in cases of a lethal fetal anomaly and where the mother might face permanent impairment or life-threatening conditions from health complications.

INDIANAPOLIS (CN) — Indiana’s Republican Governor has signed into law a bill that would ban almost all abortions in the Hoosier state.

The Indiana House approved the bill known as SB 1 in a 62-38 vote on Friday, and the Senate signed off on their changes in a vote of 28-19 after hours of speaking from Senate lawmakers.

Shortly after the bill was approved by the statehouse, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said he had signed the bill into law.

“Following the overturning of Roe, I stated clearly that I would be willing to support legislation that made progress in protecting life. In my view, SEA 1 accomplishes this goal following its passage in both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly with a solid majority of support. These actions followed long days of hearings filled with sobering and personal testimony from citizens and elected representatives on this emotional and complex topic. 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,” Holcomb said in statement.

The House made several changes to the original billed passed by the Senate, including expanding the language that allows abortion in cases where the health and life of the mother is in danger.

The bill also allows abortions when a fetus is found to have a lethal anomaly. For the rape and incest exception, the bill allows abortions up to 10 weeks of pregnancy and requires an affidavit attesting to the incident. The House removed a requirement added by the Senate that the affidavit be notarized.

Throughout deliberations in the House and Senate, Democrats unsuccessfully made several proposals, including allowing religious exemptions to the abortion restrictions and to place a non-binding question on the Indiana November ballot asking Hoosier voters if abortion should remain legal.

Indiana Democrats made mention of Kansas voters who earlier in the week shot down a constitutional amendment that would have allowed the Republican state Legislature to pass more restrictions or even outright ban abortions in the state.

A majority of Republicans in the House voted to strip away the incest and rape exceptions in the bill, but 32 Republicans joined Democrats in defeating the proposal. Another proposal would have allowed pharmacists to prescribe birth control but was narrowly defeated in the House by a vote of 48-49.

However, House Republicans were able to get the termination of licensing for abortion clinics into the bill, which requires that surgical and medical abortions be performed in hospitals or centers owned by a hospital.

Another substantial change was the removing of language that would have allowed the Indiana attorney general to prosecute abortion and other crimes in counties where the local prosecutor refuses to proceed with prosecution.

This language was made in response to Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears who issued a statement in June saying that he would not spend his office’s resources to file charges for abortions.

Under SB 1, medical providers lose their license if they are proven to have provided an illegal abortion.

SB1 stands as the first new abortion legislation passed by a state since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, which granted a constitutional right to abortions.

ACLU of Indiana Public Policy Director Katie Blair in a statement called the passing of SB 1 a “dark day.”

“It is a dark day in the state of Indiana. The General Assembly has passed a ban on abortion, turning back the clock 50 years on Hoosiers’ fundamental right to control their own bodies. S.B. 1 will force women to either travel hundreds of miles or carry pregnancies against their will, resulting in life-altering consequences and serious health risks. This is an unconscionable attack on our freedom.”

Now that the law has been signed by Holcomb, it will go into effect on Sept. 15.

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