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Vice President Harris joins Indiana Democrats push to stop abortion ban

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — While hundreds rallied in and around the Indiana Statehouse on Monday to make their voices heard on plans to further ban abortion in the state, Vice President Kamala Harris flew to Indianapolis to join state Democrats in a roundtable discussion.

“Maybe some people need to actually learn how a woman’s body works,” Harris said in her opening remarks.

Reporters were only allowed to hear the opening remarks before being taken out of the room for the roundtable discussion. Her visit gave a national spotlight to the nation’s only legislature to call a special session to further ban abortion.

“The parameters that are being proposed mean that for the vast majority of women, by the time she realized that she is pregnant, she will effectively be prohibited from having access to reproductive health care that would allow her to choose what happens to her body,” the Democrat vice president said.

Some Indiana Republicans are suggesting a total ban on abortion except for cases such as rape and incest, and if the mother’s life is in danger or if the fetus is a fatal anomaly.

What the law could look like remains unclear.

State Rep. Cherrish Pryor, a Democrat from Indianapolis, referenced a 10-year-old girl who was raped in Ohio and then received an abortion in Indiana. The man accused of the rape pleaded not guilty to the crime on Monday in Ohio. “Why should we force babies to have babies? Data reveals that maternal mortality rates in Indiana (are) the third highest in the nation.”

Pryor said an abortion ban would make things worse, especially for women of color. For example, data shows Black women are three times more likely to die in childbirth than white women.

Harris said, “The president has signed an executive order to protect women’s access to abortion medic medication, and has taken action to protect the constitutional right to interstate travel, and we will do everything in our power to follow through on those commitments.” 

Harris noted, however, the fight isn’t just about abortion, but the fear that Republicans will use the abortion ban as a precedent to go after the right of contraception and gay marriage.

An Indiana Senate vote on the abortion ban could happen as early as Friday.