Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed a bill Friday that would ban most abortions, making it the first state in the US to ban abortions since the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade case.
“After Roe’s overthrow, I made it clear that I would be willing to support legislation that made progress in protecting life,” Holcomb said in a statement.
Indiana’s Republican-controlled Senate passed the near-total ban 28-19, hours after House members submitted it 62-38.
Doctors request exemptions on bill
The ban, which comes into effect on September 15, includes limited exceptions, including in cases of rape and incest up to 10 weeks after conception, and to avoid potentially serious harm to the mother.
The House added exemptions for the protection of the mother’s health and life after repeated requests from medical professionals and activists. The law also allows abortions if a fetus is diagnosed with a fatal abnormality.
Under the bill, abortions may only be performed in hospitals or outpatient clinics owned by hospitals. This essentially means that all abortion clinics would lose their licenses.
A doctor who performs an illegal abortion or fails to submit the required reports could lose his medical license.
The bill split Indiana residents as abortion rights advocates said the bill goes too far, while anti-abortion activists insisted it didn’t go far enough.
Republican lawmaker Wendy McNamara of Evansville, who sponsored the bill, said the legislation “makes Indiana one of the most pro-life states in the nation.”
However, fellow Republican lawmaker Ann Vermilion campaigned against the bill, condemning her party members who called women “murderers” for getting an abortion.
Case of 10-year-old who shocked the nation
The bill comes just weeks after the country was shaken by the news of a 10-year-old rape victim who had to travel to Indiana from neighboring Ohio to terminate her pregnancy.
The child was forced to come to Indiana because of the “fetal heartbeat” ban in Ohio.
US President Joe Biden recently signed an executive order protecting abortion rights with regard to out-of-state travel for the procedure. The measure makes it easier to travel to parts of the US where it is still legal to terminate a pregnancy.
Abortion rights activists furious
Earlier in the day, dozens of abortion rights advocates gathered in the state capitol and chanted “Shame on you!” while House members passed the bill, as seen in a Twitter video.
Meanwhile, West Virginia is probably days away from an almost complete abortion ban.
On Tuesday, Kansas rejected a vote seeking to remove abortion rights protections from the state’s constitution.
ss/dj (TUSEN, TUSEN, Reuters)
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