CARMEL, Ind. – Gov. Eric Holcomb is standing by his decision to sign Indiana’s near-total abortion ban into law, despite concerns raised by some of the state’s biggest employers.

“The bottom line is that it’s progress towards valuing the sanctity of life and expressing it through law,” Holcomb told reporters at an event in Carmel Wednesday.

The legislation, which takes effect September 15, bans abortion at all times during pregnancy, except in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal anomaly and serious risk to the mother’s health.

Despite criticism of the legislation from both abortion rights supporters and anti-abortion activists, Holcomb signed the bill into law about an hour after it received final approval in the legislature August 5.

“I told the legislature I wasn’t going to dither,” Holcomb said. “I said if this met my threshold of making progress, as maybe imperfect as it was, that I was going to sign it.”

Indiana is the first state to approve new abortion restrictions after Roe v. Wade was overturned in June.

Hours after Holcomb signed the legislation, two of Indiana’s biggest employers – engine maker Cummins and pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly – both criticized the new law. In its statement, Lilly said it plans to explore opportunities for growth outside the Hoosier State.

Holcomb acknowledged companies may consider abortion policy when choosing where to do business, but he believes Indiana will still be able to attract and retain jobs, he said.

“A lot of these companies want to grow, and their growth is off the charts in our state,” Holcomb said.

“Some might just fly over the state of Indiana because of this issue,” he added. “I don’t mean to act like it’ll never happen. It might. But so are a lot of other issues that factor into where someone invests.”

Holcomb said he anticipates abortion policy will continue to be discussed at the Statehouse next session and in the years to come.

“My counsel would be going forward that we continue to have civil, respectful, thoughtful discussions,” Holcomb said. “And if there’s changes along the way, I said I believe it was progress. Some people believe it was the opposite of progress. Some people believe that it was not enough progress. And I respect that.”