INDIANAPOLIS – Ahead of a high-profile week, IN Focus is sitting down with both party chairs to get their priorities heading into the special session.
Speaking on abortion access, Republican party chair Kyle Hupfer says his party is listening to Hoosiers, and has been “consistent for a long time.” He says for Republicans, “it has always been about life.”
“It’s not about playing doctor,” Hupfer said. “[Republicans] have an exception in there, if there are medical reasons for the life of the mother to be protected,” Hupfer said.
Turning to the differing opinions within the party, Hupfer said it’s up to lawmakers to have a lot of “debate and discussion over the next couple weeks.” He mentioned the case of the 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio who had to travel to Indiana to seek an abortion.
Under the current proposal by Senate Republicans, Hupfer says “she would still have been able to receive the medical attention that she needed, both to protect her and that she was such a victim.”
On inflation, Hupfer backed some sort of inflation relief getting to the pockets of Hoosiers. He says the “cleanest and fairest way” is Governor Holcomb’s proposal of direct checks. That’s compared to Senate Republicans plans for a six-month gas tax holiday on residential utilities.
“It’s good that [lawmakers] have acknowledged that inflation relief is something that the General Assembly should take up this session,” Hupfer said.
Meanwhile, Democratic chair Mike Schmuhl criticized Republicans for the entire effort to restrict abortion access. He says that after the Supreme Court decided to overturn Roe v Wade, Republican lawmakers needed to gauge the public sentiment before taking any substantive action.
“I think what they found is that the stances that they had were pretty unpopular,” Schmuhl said. “Particularly Hoosier women don’t want politicians involved with their healthcare choices.”
Contrasting directly with Hupfer’s statement, Schmuhl said that Republicans are trying to “play doctor” with the lives of Hoosiers. Despite Democrats being vastly outnumbered in the General Assembly, Schmuhl hopes that pro-abortion Hoosiers will protest and make their voices heard at the Statehouse.
“I don’t think we want politicians drawing any lines,” Schmuhl said. “When politicians are playing doctor, I don’t think that’s popular with anybody.”
Looking at inflation, Schmuhl continued to push for a state gas tax holiday.
“We all want the prices of goods to go down… that’s why Democrats have asked for a pause in the gas tax,” Schmuhl said. “Indiana has one of the highest gas taxes in the country. At a time when things are so expensive, we should be pausing that to give Hoosiers relief.”
Watch more from Indiana’s party chairs in the video above.