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INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana state lawmakers are set to return to the Statehouse on Monday, as the special session kicks off.
Among the topics to be discussed, lawmakers will debate a newly proposed abortion bill. Vice President Kamala Harris is also set to speak with legislators regarding abortion on Monday.
The issue has garnered quite a bit of attention nationwide after the Supreme Court overturned its ruling on Roe v. Wade.
Following that monumental decision, Indiana Senate Republicans released their plan for the special session, including a bill that would prohibit most abortions.
The proposed bill would ban all abortions except in cases of rape, incest, and “permanent substantial impairment” to the mother’s health.
“While it’s important to have these exceptions, at the end of the say it is still a ban,” Women4Change CEO Rima Shahid said. “And it is still the state and elected officials that are interfering and controlling the most difficult and private decisions that a woman should be able to privately make with her health care provider.”
State senators say the rape and incest exception would require an affidavit. Criminal charges would not be required. Under the proposal, surgical abortions could not be performed by abortion clinics, rather they could only be performed in licensed hospitals or ambulatory outpatient surgical centers, except for medical emergencies.
Shahid said she feels the bill could also lead to serious health and safety issues as well.
“Banning abortions won’t stop abortions,” she said. “But it could make it much more dangerous and it could impact brown and black women at a much higher rate.”
Pro-life groups across central Indiana also have their concerns with the newly proposed legislation.
“Our advice was completely ignored in the drafting of this legislation,” said Mike Fichter, the president and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “The intent of this legislation could not be made more clear than when you look at the section that requires the Department of Health to create new rules for existing abortion clinics as well as future abortion clinics. It makes it very clear.”
Fichter said he feels the legislation is “completely unacceptable.”
“This legislation is not intended to end abortions in the state of Indiana, it’s intended to facilitate abortions in Indiana, based upon polling results and in complete disregard to voters who helped establish these republican supermajorities,” he said.
Senate Republicans say the legislation would not affect access to the morning after pill or any other method of birth control.
Under the bill, women would not face criminal charges for receiving abortions. Doctors who perform an illegal abortion could be at risk for losing their license.
The proposal will need approval both in the senate and house before reaching the governor’s office, leaving quite a bit of time for possible changes and amendments to the bill.
A senate committee will hear testimony on the bill on Monday, and a committee will debate the bill on Tuesday.
A number of rallies on both sides of the issue are also scheduled to take place at the statehouse on Monday.