Indiana News

Indiana Senate passes abortion bill 26-20

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana Senate has passed Senate Bill 1, a near total ban on abortion, 26-20.

The bill would prohibit abortion at any stage of a woman’s pregnancy other than in cases of fatal fetal abnormalities or to save the life of the mother. Victims of rape or incest who become pregnant would be able to get an abortion up to 12 weeks into their pregnancy if they are under age 16, or 8 weeks if they are 16 or older.

The vote deeply divided the Republican caucus, with 10 Republicans joining Democrats in voting against the bill for a variety of reasons. Some, like Sens. Kyle Walker, R-Lawrence, and Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, said the bill went too far. Walker said he would prefer allowing abortions for any reason until the end of the first trimester, while Becker called the bill a betrayal of Republicans’ traditional commitment to limited government. Others, such as Sens. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, and Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville, objected to the bill’s inclusion of any exception for rape or incest.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Shelli Yoder, D-Bloomington, told her own story of an unplanned pregnancy when she was 34. Then, as now, Indiana law allowed for abortion up to the 20th week of pregnancy. Yoder said she made and canceled multiple abortion appointments during that time before ultimately deciding to keep the baby.

“Knowing how difficult, how wrenching it was, how much sleep I lost over it, I would never take that decision away from someone else, or restrict the time they took to make it,” said Yoder.

For her part, bill author Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange, urged her colleagues to support the bill even if it wasn’t their ideal solution. 

“If we do nothing, if we vote this bill down, the present law in Indiana allows abortions without exception for 20 weeks. I ask you to protect those lives,” Glick added.

The measure now heads to the House.

News 8’s Garrett Bergquist captured the reaction outside the Senate Chamber.

Tensions rose outside the Senate chamber as protesters expressed their opposition towards the passage. Senator Michael was escorted to to the elevators by Minority Leader Taylor and state troopers. News 8’s Garrett Bergquist captured the intense moments.

Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor released a statement responding to the bill’s passage:

“The supermajority’s hypocrisy and lack of compassion was on full display this entire week, and it’s abundantly clear that their policy to ban abortion is about control and not life…What Republicans in the Senate have done today is reprehensible, and I will continue fighting for women and Hoosiers for the rest of this special session and beyond. I pray to God that members in the House find more compassion and love in their heart than what was shown by the Senate and kill this dangerous bill.”

Senator Sue Glick, the author of SB 1, released a statement Saturday after the vote:

“The passage of Senate Bill 1 is a huge step forward in protecting the life of the unborn children in our state. We have put together a bill that would not criminalize women and would protect the unborn whose voices have been silenced for the past 50 years under Roe v Wade. Now, we understand this may not be the final version of the bill, and we are only through the first half of its long journey to becoming law, but we have put together a pro-life framework that, in my opinion, is fair and just.”

IU Health, the largest healthcare provider in Indiana released a statement following the passing of SB 1:

“As the largest healthcare provider and only academic health center in the state, IU Health’s priority remains to ensure our physicians and patients have clarity when making decisions about pregnancy, including the ability to address not only life-saving interventions, but also to intercede when a pregnant woman’s health is at risk and to make sure our providers are not criminalized when doing so. The bill’s restrictions on a physician’s ability to do what is medically proven and appropriate for the health and life of a pregnant patient, plus the threat of criminalization, impact our ability to provide safe and effective patient care and could deter physicians seeking to live and practice healthcare in Indiana.

Indiana Right to Life President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Fichter issued the following statement regarding the vote on SB 1:

“Serious issues remain with SB1, including loopholes that will allow most abortions to continue in Indiana, and even a rollback on some protections that currently exist for the unborn. We are hopeful these concerns will be fixed in the House and that SB1 will become a bill we can support. As it stands today, we remain opposed to SB1.”