The Indiana Statehouse was filled with protesters as lawmakers debated a new abortion ban.

The majority of the protesters were pro-abortion rights, outnumbered by a small group of anti-abortion rights protesters who held signs outside the Statehouse.
Protesters have little chance of changing the course of the Legislature, as Republicans control both houses of the legislature as well as the governor’s office.

State senators heard testimony Monday from about 30 people, just 10 percent of the 280 people who requested to speak.

Across the street before the session began, Vice President Kamala Harris convened a roundtable of dozens of Democratic lawmakers and state leaders to condemn the Republican ban on abortion. Indiana’s proposed legislation is not a so-called heartbeat bill, but a blanket ban with narrow exceptions.

“I’m here to support these extraordinary and courageous leaders and, in particular, on a day when Indiana is the first state since Dobbs’ decision to propose a law calling for a special session…predominantly of women. So there will be a ban on abortion,” Harris said. “When you understand how a woman’s body works, you realize that the parameters that are being prescribed mean that for the majority of women, by the time she realizes that She is pregnant, she would effectively be denied access to reproductive health care. Allowing her to choose what happens to her body.”

The Hoosier state has become an unexpected flashpoint in the national debate over abortion in recent weeks, after a 10-year-old rape victim crossed state lines from Ohio to get an abortion in Indiana, and the National Right to Life After the comments of the Committee General. The lawyer, Indiana resident Jim Bopp, told OlxPraca that the girl should have terminated her pregnancy.

But after state Senate Republicans unveiled their proposed bill last week, Bopp’s group announced its opposition, saying it fails to impose fines on abortion doctors.

“We have a piece of legislation that absolutely nobody likes,” said Mike O’Brien, an Indiana Republican operative and former legislative director for former Gov. Mitch Daniels. “So I think we’re on target.” He added: “This bill is far from what they want and will support. But the majority of people support exemptions and no enforcement.”

One month and one day after the Supreme Court’s decision Dobbs The decision that changed the national right to abortion. cotton wool In 1973, Indiana Republicans find themselves walking a delicate path. On the one hand, he faces anti-abortion rights activists who have sworn allegiance to him in surveys. On the other hand, they face a national backlash — a familiar place for them: in 2015, under then-Gov. The state found itself at the center of a national firestorm after Pence signed into law the so-called Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, which led some states to announce travel bans on the state, as well as the NCAA and Nascar. issued statements criticizing the legislation. .

Next week, Kansas voters are also expected to consider abortion rights in a state ballot initiative. In Indiana, the debate continues in the state legislature where the issue currently dominates the agenda.

In the weeks leading up to the special session, Republican lawmakers remained largely silent on their plans for the proposed legislation. Republican state Sen. Kyle Walker, who represents the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers, was the rare exception: Last week, he repealed Indiana’s current law banning abortions after 20 weeks of fertilization from 12. Called for a more modest change, shortening it to 15 weeks.

With the reversal of “ Roe v. WadeI believe that we must strike a balance for pregnant women to make their own health decisions in the first trimester of pregnancy and also provide protections for the unborn child as it becomes viable outside the womb. moves forward, while making exceptions for rape, indecency, maternal and fatal fetal abnormalities,” Walker said in a statement.

After OlxPraca reported Bopp’s comments, Walker’s wife, Republican consultant Jennifer Hallowell, expressed outrage in a Twitter post, writing: “Some people think that your 10-year-old daughter or granddaughter Should be forced to carry your raping child and be a mother. Not me. Bop’s quote sounds exactly like someone who has never had to fear or face a man forcing himself on her. fell.” wrote.

In Indiana, the Legislature’s actions in the coming days will have life-and-death consequences. Indiana ranks 3rd in the country for maternal death. Indiana Senate Republicans have proposed an abortion ban as well as $50 million in funding for pregnancy services.

The special session could continue until August 14, but legislative leaders have said they will wrap up their work in two weeks.

Democratic state Sen. Jeanne Breaux, who participated in the roundtable with Harris, asserted that the Republican-backed legislation would lead to an increase in maternal mortality.

“A total abortion ban, as proposed by Indiana Republicans, would lead to this. 21% increase in pregnancy-related deaths Overall, and black women increased by 33 percent,” Breaux said in a statement. “This does not include deaths resulting from attempted abortions in potentially dangerous, unlicensed facilities. Lack of access to abortion in a state with exceptional maternity care will kill women.