Indiana’s Republican-controlled Senate on Friday gave final approval to a bill banning most abortions, six weeks after the United States Supreme Court ruled that a woman’s constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy was overturned.
The bill, passed within 28-19 hours of a vote in the state House of Representatives, would make Indiana the first US state to introduce such a ban since the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case was overturned on June 24, which legalized abortion nationwide. .
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb is now deciding whether to sign the measure into law.
The Indiana Legislature passed the measure during a special session called by Republican leaders after the conservative majority on the Mississippi Supreme Court in a case called Dobbs v. Jackson immediately cleared the way for all states to regulate abortion as they see fit.
West Virginia is likely days away from enacting a near-total abortion ban, and about 10 other Republican-led states have already enacted similarly strict bans that were on the books before Dobbs replaced Roe as the law of the land.
Court ruling on US abortion laws: Nick Harper
The so-called Hoosier state became a flashpoint for a renewed national debate on abortion in late June, when a 10-year-old rape victim from nearby Ohio traveled to Indiana to terminate her pregnancy because her home state banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for sexual assault or incest.
The girl was just three days past Ohio’s six-week abortion limit, which was blocked before Roe was overturned but took effect hours after the Dobbs decision.
Current Indiana law, which actually awaits the governor’s signature on the recently passed abortion bill, SB-1, allows abortions up to 22 weeks after a patient’s last menstrual period, with a few additional restrictions.
SB-1 bans abortion entirely, except when fetal abnormalities are considered fatal or to prevent serious physical risks to the mother’s health. Exceptions are also allowed for minor victims of rape or incest, but only up to 10 weeks of pregnancy.
Doctors who violate this measure can be charged with a felony and face the loss of their medical license.
The final passage by lawmakers in Indianapolis came three days after abortion opponents suffered a major blow in the first statewide election test on the issue since Roe passed. Voters in Kansas, another heavily conservative Midwestern state, rejected a ballot measure Tuesday that seeks to remove protections for abortion rights from their state constitution.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and PlannedParenthood Alliance Advocates-East organized a protest at the Indiana Statehouse Friday night to oppose the abortion ban.
Earlier in the day, dozens of abortion rights activists rallied outside the Capitol, chanting “Shame on you!” as House members passed the bill, according to a video posted on Twitter.
“SB-1 is a brutal and dangerous attack on freedom and liberty. We will not stop fighting until everyone has access to the abortions they need without interference from politicians,” the ACLU of Indiana wrote on Twitter.
The US House of Representatives passes bills to protect abortion rights: