Indiana News

Dems call Indiana special session ‘bait and switch’ on original start date

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Democrats on Wednesday accused Republicans of planning an abortion ban behind closed doors.

Gov. Eric Holcomb on June 22 ordered lawmakers to meet in special session beginning Wednesday to approve an inflation relief package. Those plans changed days later after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the ruling that gutted Roe v. Wade and ended federal protections for abortion services. The governor and Republican legislative leaders agreed to push the special session back to July 25 to give lawmakers time to put together abortion legislation.

Gathering at the Statehouse on the session’s original start date, Democrats accused Republicans of ignoring Indiana residents’ needs and again renewed their calls for lawmakers to suspend the gas tax. They said Holcomb’s proposal to send taxpayers a second, $225 tax refund will not be enough to help cover most families’ expenses and won’t aid families with incomes too low to tax.

“That’s why we should be here at the Statehouse today, discussing how we can bring relief to Hoosier taxpayers,” said Sen. Jean Breaux, an Indianapolis Democrat. “But, we’re not doing that. Why? Most likely because behind closed doors, somewhere, there is a discussion about how do we impose something on women that will restrict their right to make choices for themselves and their families?”

Abortion rights supporters spent Wednesday afternoon gathered outside the Statehouse’s front steps, holding signs and chanting. Heather Lamm brought her daughter, Kya, from Bloomington to take part. She said neither of them had ever taken part in a protest before.

“Personally, I don’t think men in suits that don’t know much about a woman’s body need to be making decisions on a woman’s body,” she said. “Women are very smart, nurturing people and abortions are decisions that are not made lightly, and, while I don’t agree with abortions in all areas, it is still their decision and it should be their decision.”

When asked about the points Democrats raised Wednesday afternoon, Republican legislative leadership said they had no comment.

Special sessions cannot exceed 40 calendar days in length. Although lawmakers won’t return until July 25, the clock began ticking Wednesday. The legislature will have until Aug. 14 to send any legislation to the governor’s desk.