INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council has condemned statements made by Republican State Senator Michael Young saying that the senator “appeared to equate Judaism’s view on reproductive rights with condoning murder.”
Sen. Young’s statements were made on Thursday on the Indiana Senate floor when senators were debating amendments to Senate Bill 1 — a bill that bans abortion and grants only a few exceptions.
Young, however, felt the bill didn’t go far enough in banning abortions and introduced an amendment stripping victims of rape and/or incest access to abortions. A lengthy debate followed as Young’s amendment was found to be contentious among both Democrats and Republicans.
While defending his amendment, Young spoke out against those who used religion as an “excuse to have an abortion” while at the same time invoking his own beliefs as a reason to protect unborn life.
“It seems to me we can’t use our religion to protect life, but they can use their religious beliefs to kill life,” Young said.
The Indianapolis JCRC took exception to these remarks stating Young was equating Judaism’s views on reproductive rights with condoning murder.
“Judaism views the preservation of life as paramount; while a fetus has the potential for life, such potential never supersedes the life of the pregnant woman,” they said in their statement.
The Indianapolis JCRC has called on Young to retract his statement and issue an apology.
“While we have differences of opinion on reproductive rights, we reject Senator Young’s characterization of our religious beliefs,” they stated.
Young, who has described himself as a conservative pro-life Republican, recently resigned from the Republican caucus amid disagreements over the party’s approach to the abortion ban legislation.
Young’s amendment to strip abortion exceptions for rape and/or incest victims sought a hardline approach to an abortion ban. His amendment ultimately did not succeed, however, falling short in a 28-18 vote on Thursday.
Young voted no on Saturday to Senate Bill 1 which still had exceptions in place for rape and/or incest victims along with an exception for the life of the mother. Senator Bill 1 narrowly passed 26-20 and moves on to the Indiana House.
Young was escorted to an elevator in the statehouse by Indiana State Police amid shouts of “shame” from protestors.
Sen. Young represents District 35 which encompasses Wayne Township and Decatur Township in Marion County and Liberty Township and Guilford Township in Hendricks County.
Sen. Young’s office has not returned requests for comment on his statements condemned by the Indianapolis JCRC.