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Indiana lawmakers file more abortion legislation amid court challenges

A view of the Indiana Statehouse. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Republicans on Monday said they likely won’t act on any further abortion legislation until the courts rule on the state’s near-ban on abortion.

Their comments came as hundreds of anti-abortion activists marched on the Statehouse for the first March for Life in Indianapolis since last year’s Dobbs vs. Jackson ruling and the subsequent passage of a near-total abortion ban in Indiana. The ban is on hold due to a lawsuit claiming it violates the state constitution’s right to individual liberty, and a separate challenge through the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

For now, abortion in Indiana is still governed by the state’s old law, which allowed abortion for any reason up to 20 weeks into pregnancy. Sen. Shelli Yoder, a Bloomington Democrat, has filed legislation to keep it that way. She said her constituents have been devastated and angry since lawmakers enacted the ban. The bill is unlikely to get a hearing in the Republican-dominated General Assembly but Yoder said it was still worth filing.

“Women need to know that people are not forgetting about them, that we are still going to continue to stand up and demand at the end of the day that women have full bodily autonomy,” she said.

On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Peggy Mayfield, a Martinsville Republican, has filed legislation to block any political subdivision, such as a city, county or township, from providing any kind of funding to organizations that facilitate access to abortion in any way, such as covering costs. Mayfield did not respond to a request for comment.

Republican leaders in both chambers have said they don’t plan to pursue further abortion legislation until the courts have ruled on the ban. Rep. Tim Wesco, an Osceola Republican and a strong supporter of abortion restrictions, echoed those comments Monday afternoon. He said whatever further legislation he would like to see depends on how the courts rule.

If the courts reject the ban, Wesco said that “all options would be on the table as we consider what we could to do advance the culture of life here in our state.”

The Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday took testimony on the order blocking the ban while the privacy lawsuit works its way through the court system. There is no timeline for when the court might make a decision. Neither the privacy lawsuit itself nor the Religious Freedom Restoration Act suit have had any hearings at the trial level.