Indiana Senate to Discuss and Vote on Abortion Ban Amendments

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WPTA) – The Senate will convene Thursday afternoon for the second reading of the abortion ban bill, along with two other bills.

On Thursday afternoon, the Senate will proceed to the second reading of SBs 1, 2 and 3 during which senators can introduce, debate and vote on amendments to the bill. The reading comes after SB 1, the abortion ban bill, passed the Senate Legislative Rules and Procedures Committee by a vote of 7-5 after days of testimony from anti-abortion advocates and pro-choicers who opposed the bill.

The hearing was originally scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m., but after several delays, Senate Republicans now say they plan to start at 5 p.m. It is unclear whether the session will be delayed again or not.

CONTEXT: Special session for proposed abortion ban enters second dayRepublicans have eagerly written an abortion bill. Many can’t agree on the detailsIndiana Special Session Day 3: Debate over abortion ban bill heats up

Dozens of amendments were slated for consideration on Tuesday, largely by Democrats seeking to keep some abortion protections in place. However, none of these amendments received support. All filed amendments can be viewed online at iga.in.gov. The bill passed the Senate committee with at least one amendment, which states that rape and incest victims over the age of 16 cannot have an abortion after 8 weeks.

Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) challenged the amendment.

“Under their amendments, the exceptions for rape and incest are limited to 8 weeks after the age of 16, before a woman even knows she is pregnant,” Taylor said. “This amendment is unnecessarily cruel and grossly unsympathetic, and I am disgusted that it was even introduced let alone passed. I hope the rest of my fellow Republicans are more receptive to the voices of Hoosier and the voices of doctors and kill this bill before it does irreversible damage to our state.

Senate Democrats held a press conference to address the proposed amendments Thursday afternoon. They said they would propose more than 30 amendments to the bill, all of which they said would support women.

“Each of the Senate Democratic amendments simply ensures that women have strong emotional, financial and maternal support throughout pregnancy,” Taylor said. “This support will be essential to protect the lives, well-being and health of women, especially as we know supermajority politics will force women into dangerous, frightening and potentially impossible situations. We have a duty to be proactive and try to load as much initial support as possible into reducing maternal deaths and trying to reduce some of the burdens that women will be forced to carry.

During the third day of the special session, Senate Democrats offered a minority report that draws attention to a few amendments that Democrats were not allowed to introduce in committee. It would allow access to abortion when the “physical health” of the mother is threatened by the pregnancy, since the current wording of the bill stipulates that the life of the mother must be in danger.

Another amendment hints at a possible religious exemption to the abortion ban, reports the WNDU. It states that if a person’s religious beliefs hold that human life begins at a particular stage of fetal development, any law prohibiting abortion before that stage hampers that person’s exercise of freedom of religion.

SB 1 DETAILS

At a press conference on July 20, Senate Republicans presented the details of Senate Bill 1. Senate Speaker Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) said Bill SB 1 seeks to ban abortions except when the life of the mother is in danger, rape and incest.

“Being pro-life is not about criminalizing women, it’s about preserving the dignity of life and helping mothers deliver happy, healthy babies,” said State Senator Sue Glick (R -Barn).

However, the current wording of SB 1 allows for criminal prosecution if a woman lies to obtain an abortion. The bill currently requires pregnant people seeking an abortion for rape or incest to submit an affidavit “signed by the woman under penalty of perjury, attesting to the rape or incest.”

Senator Glick said the bill does not include new penalties for doctors — the existing penalty that revokes a doctor’s license if they perform an illegal abortion will remain in place.

She also says the bill does not impact access to IVF, or termination of an ectopic pregnancy or pregnancy in the event of a fatal fetal abnormality. Senator Glick also noted that this does not affect access to the morning after pill, known as Plan B, or any other method of birth control.

The bill was officially introduced at 11 a.m. on Monday, July 25, during the previously scheduled special session at the Indiana Statehouse. The Senate Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee heard the first round of public testimony from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, with the second round of testimony taking place on Tuesday, July 26.

Vice President Kamala Harris landed in Indianapolis on Monday, July 25 to meet with lawmakers and state leaders to discuss the abortion bill. She led a roundtable on reproductive rights at 11:30 a.m.

“An individual should be able to choose according to his personal convictions and the precepts of his faith. But the government shouldn’t tell an individual what to do, especially when it comes to one of the most intimate and personal decisions a woman can make,” Harris said during the roundtable.

OPPOSITION ON BOTH SIDES

The ACLU of Indiana, Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, Women4Change Indiana and local group Women United For Progress Allen County (WUFPAC) held a rally against SB 1 at the Statehouse on the first day of the special session. Thousands of protesters gathered for this rally to testify during public comments.

“It terrifies me. There are tons of people who need access to abortion care. As they restrict abortion, they restrict sex education, they restrict access to reproductive health. And again they restrict access to what can be used for ectopic pregnancies. It’s also absolutely essential for millions of Americans and women for health issues,” said Suzanne Barber, a protester from Lafayette.

groups like Indiana right to life argued that the proposed bill does not go far enough in restricting abortions. The group planned a rally against the legislation on Tuesday, and hundreds of anti-abortion advocates gathered in the statehouse atrium to voice their concerns. The group urges lawmakers to add more restrictions to the proposed abortion ban, which they say lacks provisions for enforcement mechanisms.

The special session must end no later than August 14, 2022, according to Indiana code. The Senate is expected to take a final vote on the bill(s) during Friday’s session.

Copyright 2022 WPTA. All rights reserved.



Source link

Comments are closed.