INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Senate Republicans released their plan for the special session, including a bill that would prohibit most abortions.

The proposed legislation would prohibit abortions throughout all stages of the fetus’ development in a pregnant woman’s uterus from implantation until birth except in limited situations. This includes when the abortion is necessary to prevent a substantial permanent impairment of the life of the mother or the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.

It goes in to define rape or incest for the purposes of abortion exceptions. It would involve

  • sexual intercourse with a biological parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew
  • rape
  • child molesting
  • child seduction
  • sexual misconduct with a minor

Senators say the rape and incest exception would require an affidavit. Criminal charges would not be required.

The legislation would also provide for the termination of a pregnancy where the fetus suffers from an irremediable medical condition that is incompatible with sustained life outside the womb, regardless of when the child is born.

Under the proposed legislation, surgical abortions could not be performed by abortion clinics. They could only be performed in licensed hospitals or ambulatory outpatient surgical centers except for medical emergencies.

The proposed legislation would also make a defense to any crime involving the death of or injury to a fetus for women who committed the act with the intent to terminate their pregnancy except for performing an unlawful abortion or feticide.

“We are not here to criminalize women, we are here to support mothers and help them bring happy and healthy babies to term. We in the pro-life movement have long believed in exceptions to abortion restrictions for the life of the mother, and that is reflected in our legislation. In addition, we recognize there are heartbreaking cases where, because of violence committed against women and young girls, providing some additional exceptions is necessary. That’s why the legislation we are introducing provides exceptions for cases of rape and incest, which I believe a majority of Hoosiers support.”

State Sen. Sue Glick (R-LaGrange)

Senate Republicans also say the legislation would not affect access to

  • the morning-after pill or any other method of birth control
  • treatment of miscarriages
  • treatment of ectopic pregnancies
  • in-vitro fertilization procedures

They also say it does not create any new penalties for doctors who perform abortions. There is an existing penalty that would revoke the doctor’s license if they perform an illegal abortion.

The legislation would work together with another piece of legislation that Senate Republicans introduced that would create a new Hoosier Families First Fund. The fund would get an allocation of $45 million, which would allow the State Budget Committee to distribute funds to the Indiana Department of Health, Indiana Family and Social Services Agency, Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) and Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

This funding would go towards a variety of programs that Senate Republicans say can help support healthy pregnancies and families. These include:

  • Funding to support the health of pregnant mothers,
  • Pregnancy planning, including addressing barriers to long-acting reversible contraception,
  • Needs of low-income families with children under four years old,
  • Increased access to child care,
  • Support for foster and adoptive care,
  • Programs to prevent children from entering the DCS system,
  • Funding for Safe Haven baby boxes and more.

It would also increase Indiana’s adoption tax credit from $1,000 to $10,000. The credit is available to those who incur expenses when adopting a child.

Lawmakers react to abortion legislation

After Senate Republicans introduced their proposed legislation on abortion, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle sent in their reactions.

“An abortion ban will result in women dying. Period. When pregnant women cannot access vital components of health care, they are at greater risk of having their pregnancy end in a fatality—especially if they already have existing health conditions or illnesses.

It’s a shame that our Legislature is moving to take such a drastic step to restrict women’s health care access, especially when we know it’s against the advice of health care providers, the cries of women and the demands of Hoosiers. 

It’s also a shame that this bill is being sent to the Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee rather than Health and Provider Services where it belongs. This is a health issue—legislators who review health legislation and have more insight and understanding of health issues should be the first ones to deliberate this proposal. I also think it would have made more sense for this bill to go to the Health Committee where six of the members are women. There are no relevant committees that this bill could have gone to with fewer women than the Rules Committee. 

Everything from the language of the proposed bill to the legislative process surrounding it is cause for concern, and my caucus will be fighting with everything we’ve got for women and Hoosiers across the state. We also urge everyone to pay close attention to the actions of the so-called “pro-life” supermajority throughout this special session–this is when the supermajority will have to make it very clear whether they actually support life or just forced birth.”

Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis)

“We share the Senate’s goal in increasing protections for Indiana’s unborn while also stepping up our investment in wraparound services to better support new and expectant moms, and babies. Our caucus will take time to review and consider the details of the Senate bill, and continue to listen to thoughts and input from constituents across the state. We look forward to working with our Senate colleagues and the governor in the days and weeks ahead, and I’m confident we’ll find a thoughtful way forward that shows compassion for both mothers and babies.”

House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers)

“It is unconscionable that Indiana Republicans are gambling with the lives of Hoosier women to gain points in an ultimately unwinnable culture war. The choice to have an abortion is a personal decision that ought to be left up to a woman and her health care provider, not Republicans who are playing doctor in the Indiana Statehouse.”  

House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne)

“Senate Republicans are today proposing a package that can provide financial relief to all Hoosiers in multiple ways while continuing to pay down our outstanding debt. In addition, we have an opportunity to protect the lives of unborn children following the historic Supreme Court decision last month. As such, we are introducing legislation that will limit abortions in Indiana while still providing necessary exceptions and boosting support for mothers and babies.”

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville)

“Not only is this legislation fundamentally cruel, it is not rooted in actual science. Protecting the life of the mother without guaranteeing the right to an abortion if a woman’s health is in danger is not legislation that values life. Women should not have to wait to be on the brink of death to have access to a safe, routine health care procedure. This proposal not only strips women of their bodily autonomy, but also puts already-vulnerable women in potentially life-threatening situations. We in the House Democratic Caucus intend to fight this legislation to ensure Hoosier women remain first-class citizens in the state of Indiana.

The legislation put forth by our Republican colleagues is an affront to personal liberties and the ability for Hoosier women to make the best decision for her life and family. When we allow members of the General Assembly to play doctor and impede on the rights of citizens, we create a slippery slope that threatens not only the lives of women, but other fundamental rights that we have taken for granted. This Special Session should only be about helping Hoosiers benefit from this large surplus, not controlling a woman’s body.”

House Floor Leader Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis)

“While I’m glad the supermajority found enough humanity to grant exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother, the bill is irredeemable. It is still an egregious infringement on women’s wellbeing, liberty and livelihood. It will still cause confusion and paranoia in healthcare workers, who know people like AG Rokita will bully and vilify them even if they operate within the confines of the law. It will still kill women.” 

Roe was set as precedent because even decades ago, Americans recognized that this decision belonged to a woman and her doctor—simple as that. Anything less is an insult to the intelligence and personhood of every woman as well as the professionalism of Indiana’s healthcare workers. It’s my opinion that our 76% male legislature needs to stop pretending they understand the choices women have to make and focus on doing their real job: supporting the women and families in our state. It’s frankly ludicrous that this bill isn’t going to Health and Provider Services, the most relevant committee with the most women—it makes you wonder if they want to hear women’s voices on this at all. That, and the fact that they’ve just now introduced a wraparound services bill for mothers and children—despite years of abysmal policy performance and family outcomes—says all you need to know about what this bill and this movement is actually about. It’s not about saving lives: every word of it is about control.”

State Senator Shelli Yoder (D-Bloomington)

“I’ve been in this fight for most of my life, and I remember growing up in a time when abortion was unsafe and women could, and often did, die from unsafe, illegal abortions. We simply can’t go back to that. 

“Doctors should not have to wait until a pregnant woman with life-threatening complications is facing imminent death to take action to save her life because Indiana’s abortion exemptions are too narrow. Unfortunately, the bill as it currently exists won’t allow physicians to act in good faith with their experienced judgment. 

“This is why the privacy to make your own healthcare decisions with the trusted counsel of your doctor and family is so important. Every single woman’s situation and circumstances are different, and that’s why I have no interest in making other women’s decisions for them. A total ban with limited exceptions assumes one size fits all. Mark my words, women will die if this policy is enacted into law. 

“I plan to rally with other pro-choice advocates on July 25 at the Statehouse. I know many people are planning to come to the Statehouse that day to make their voices heard, and I invite constituents to reach out to my office to coordinate a meeting with me if they will also be attending the rally. Finally, I invite input from all District 34 constituents on this legislation.” 

State Rep. Sue Errington (D-Muncie)