INDIANAPOLIS — After hours of contentious debate and discussion, the Indiana Senate passed a divisive bill on abortion Saturday afternoon at the Statehouse.
The measure, described by opponents as a near total ban on abortion, includes exceptions for rape, incest and in cases of substantial risk to the life of a mother.
The final vote was close, 26-20, with just enough votes to advance it to the House.
Here’s how lawmakers reacted:
Sen. Sue Glick (R-LaGrange):
The passage of Senate Bill 1 is a huge step forward in protecting the life of the unborn children in our state. We have put together a bill that would not criminalize women and would protect the unborn whose voices have been silenced for the past 50 years under Roe v Wade. Now, we understand this may not be the final version of the bill, and we are only through the first half of its long journey to becoming law, but we have put together a pro-life framework that, in my opinion, is fair and just.”
Sen. Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis):
“This is yet another disastrous day for Hoosier women as Republicans in the Senate moved a step closer to taking away a woman’s right to choose. This bill will do real harm to women, their families and healthcare providers in our state. I pray it dies in the House.”
Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Gary):
“I’m disgusted and disappointed with the entire process we’ve seen in the Senate over this past week. I cannot say this enough—Hoosiers, advocacy groups and doctors told us not to pass this bill. I can’t understand why this excessive majority won’t leave doctors alone to do their jobs—the government has absolutely no business being involved in a matter as private and nuanced as abortion.
“The supermajority’s bill was already a bad policy upon introduction and it has gotten drastically worse with amendments. Now, there are criminal penalties against doctors, limitations on when rape victims can access an abortion, requirements for rape victims to sign a affidavit under perjury of the law to access an abortion. Meanwhile, amendments by my caucus to actually help women and families were voted down. All but two were rejected, including my religious exemption amendment since those of other faiths do not all agree when life begins. The supermajority voted that down, despite arguing the necessity of that same exemption for the COVID vaccine. Their hypocrisy has been blatant during this whole process, and I’m disturbed that this harmful policy is still moving. I can only hope this proposal dies in the House.”
Sen. Tim Lanane (D-Anderson):
“This bill is ugly. It doesn’t matter how you dress it up, how Republicans amend around the corners: anything less than a strip and insert of current code does not reflect the wishes of most Hoosiers. This bill is the product of the excess Republican majority’s hubris—their determination to strip women of 50 years of bodily autonomy, restrict access to healthcare and foist their narrow religious views on others will kill women. The only acceptable fate for this bill is defeat. For the sake of Hoosier women, for the sake of healthcare providers, for the sake of liberty and choice, I hope we kill this bill before August 14.”
Sen. Fady Qaddoura (D-Indianapolis):
“I am deeply disappointed that the Republicans have taken Indiana back to the 1960s by depriving women of the right to make science-based decisions with their physicians and faith leaders if they so choose. This extreme legislation will harm expecting mothers and their babies, criminalize healthcare providers, and enforce a narrow religious view on all Hoosiers regardless of their faith or non-faith affiliation. I will continue to champion individual liberties, freedom, religious freedom, and oppose extreme anti-family legislation.”
“The political infighting between Statehouse Republicans is holding Indiana back. This extreme legislation is opposed by the overwhelming majority of Hoosiers, including Republicans. Indiana can’t afford reluctant or partisan leadership that places political or monetary considerations above the interests of Hoosier women.”
Sen. J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis):
“I am deeply disappointed that the majority chose to pass Senate Bill (SB) 1. They chose to listen to a special interest group over everyday Hoosiers, who adamantly oppose this cruel bill. The ramifications of this legislation for women are endless, even deadly. That’s not hyperbole—in a state with the 3rd highest maternal mortality rate in the nation, this ban will kill women. The majority are not ending abortions, only safe ones. I firmly believe that abortion care is healthcare and this bill denies a woman bodily autonomy and her right to make her own healthcare decisions.
Furthermore, our healthcare providers, who we lauded as heroes during the height of the pandemic, are now at risk of criminal penalties. Survivors of sexual violence and incest will be required, during one of the most traumatic times of their life, to give a notarized affidavit which will only complicate this tough situation and create more hoops to jump through.
During testimony, we heard many faith leaders—Christian and non-Christian—speak in adamant opposition to this bill. SB 1 undermines the many religions in Indiana that have diverse thoughts and beliefs on the subject of life and abortion. No one religion should trump another under law.
Finally, not one Hoosier genuinely testified in favor of the bill. The people of Indiana are against SB 1 and we should have scrapped the bill in the Senate. Unfortunately, we did not, and I encourage Hoosiers to reach out to their State Representative and the Governor’s office to make your voice heard. I sincerely hope the bill dies in the House.”
Sen. Shelli Yoder (D-Bloomington):
“This bill is irredeemable and unpopular. If the majority were true democratic representatives of the people of Indiana, this bill would have been dead on arrival: no one who came to testify liked this bill. Even National Right to Life, the special interest group whose advice they sought in writing the bill, hates it. No Hoosier wants this law governing themselves, their daughters or any woman they love, but our 76% male legislature is happy to pass it, wash their hands of it and let Hoosier women and healthcare workers deal with the fallout.”
“The results of this bill are certain: fewer healthcare providers, more trauma, more dead women. This is an all-out assault on Hoosiers’ liberty and livelihood. My dearest wish is that this ugly, uncompassionate bill dies a quick, unceremonious death in the House.”
Sen. Michael Griffin (D-Highland):
“I could not in good conscience vote for this extreme and widely unpopular piece of legislation. This decision belongs to a woman, her faith and her doctor: the government has no place in it, especially not to the degree proposed in Senate Bill 1. It’s not what’s wanted by the people of Indiana, most of whom want Hoosier women to have access to the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare options. I also have deep misgivings about Indiana’s ability to handle the ripple effects of Senate Bill 1. My colleagues and I brought many amendments to the table that attempted to improve family services and better define and exempt life-threatening pregnancies: all were shot down. This bill will drive healthcare workers out of our state when they’re desperately needed, further burden our insufficient social infrastructure and do irreversible harm to many Hoosier women.”
Sen. David Niezgodski (D-South Bend):
“Today, in the interest of my constituents and the future of Indiana, I voted against Senate Bill 1, a near-total abortion ban. After listening to hours of testimony, I know that this law will worsen our abysmal maternal mortality rate, place undue stress and burden on our healthcare workers, and traumatize women. I am personally a pro-life individual, but I will never have to make the choice these women do and would never take it away from them. Concerning the free will of women, today we bore witness to the imposition of government intrusion rather than government inclusion. I could not in good conscience vote in favor of this bill and fear it will do more harm than good for Indiana.”
Sen. Minority Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis):
“The supermajority’s hypocrisy and lack of compassion was on full display this entire week, and it’s abundantly clear that their policy to ban abortion is about control and not life.
“Amendment after amendment by my caucus was voted down on Thursday. Amendments to provide women with mental health and maternal support, my amendments to ensure victims of rape and incest had more time to access an abortion, efforts to provide benefits from time of conception—all rejected by this supermajority as we get ready to enter a reality where forced-birth is the law of the land. In a state that’s already failing women and families. Nothing that I’ve seen this week has been ‘pro-life.’
“With this legislation, Republicans are taking critical health care from women and forcing everyone to live by views they can’t get straight in their own minds. That’s clear when they vote against providing benefits from time of conception, or implantation, even though that’s supposed to align with their views. I guess life only begins at conception when they want to force women and girls to give birth. Unfortunately, that seems to change when it’s time to provide her with benefits throughout her pregnancy.
“What Republicans in the Senate have done today is reprehensible, and I will continue fighting for women and Hoosiers for the rest of this special session and beyond. I pray to God that members in the House find more compassion and love in their heart than what was shown by the Senate and kill this dangerous bill.”
In addition to lawmakers, health and advocacy groups weighed in as well. The following was sent by the Hoosier state’s largest healthcare provider Indiana University Health:
“As the largest healthcare provider and only academic health center in the state, IU Health’s priority remains to ensure our physicians and patients have clarity when making decisions about pregnancy, including the ability to address not only life-saving interventions, but also to intercede when a pregnant woman’s health is at risk and to make sure our providers are not criminalized when doing so.
Indiana University Health
The bill’s restrictions on a physician’s ability to do what is medically proven and appropriate for the health and life of a pregnant patient, plus the threat of criminalization, impact our ability to provide safe and effective patient care and could deter physicians seeking to live and practice healthcare in Indiana.”
Indiana Right to Life President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Fichter issued the following statement Saturday regarding the vote on Senate Bill 1:
“Serious issues remain with SB1, including loopholes that will allow most abortions to continue in Indiana, and even a rollback on some protections that currently exist for the unborn. We are hopeful these concerns will be fixed in the House and that SB1 will become a bill we can support. As it stands today, we remain opposed to SB1.”