INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana’s near-total abortion ban is set to take effect in about a month.
With limited support resources, some fear it’s going to put more women, particularly minorities and women who live in rural communities, at risk.
Abortion rights advocates say Indiana’s near-total ban and concerns around maternal mortality go hand in hand. Indiana is third in the nation when it comes to maternal mortality, with Black women most at risk. Plans are in place to combat the odds, but, they say, it’s still not enough.
When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, the debate about what that meant for Indiana ramped up. With the near-total abortion ban set to take effect, abortion advocates fear it’ll grow an already robust problem: maternal mortality.
LaKimba DeSadier with Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates said, “Here in Indiana, the maternal mortality rates for African-American Black folks, women, are 2.5 the national average. So, Black women are dying here in Indiana.”
She said phones calls have more than doubled with people wanting to know if they can get help and what resources are available.
DeSadier said, “If we’re going to move forward with this ban, let’s make sure we put forward some money and some support system, some resources in this bill.”
Many will ultimately have to seek abortion care outside of the state., but, for those who don’t have the option, Lauren Lancaster with the the Indiana Minority Health Coalition is doing advocacy work. Lancaster testified on behalf of state Rep. Cherrish Pryor, a Democrat from Indianapolis, is helping to get one amendment added to the abortion legislation before it was approved by the GOP-dominated legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb. The amendment calls for establishing a doula council to improve maternal mortality rates and infant mortality rates.
“When you talk about maternal mortality and tie it into abortion rights Indiana ranks third-highest when it comes to maternal mortality,” Lancaster said. “So, women having to carry a baby, it could lead to them having horrible outcomes.”
the Indiana Minority Health Coalition is continuing it’s partnership with the Echo Center at Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis. At the center, providers meet with women of childbearing age to talk about birth and all of its forms as it relates to Black women, and feature subject matter experts who offer more detailed specialty than an average obstetrician-gynecologist, and provide space for mothers to share their birthing experiences.
“Access to care is a big issue,” Lancaster said.
DeSadier adds that addressing health barriers is more important now.