Republican state lawmakers want to ban abortion in Indiana, with limited exceptions in cases of rape and incest and when the pregnant person’s life is in danger.
Senate Republicans unveiled their bill, SB 1(ss), on Wednesday.
Senate Speaker Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) called it “the most difficult and polarizing issue we’ve faced in a generation.” He said his caucus’ goal was to promote more adoption and less abortion.
Sen. Sue Glick (R-LaGrange) will sponsor the bill. She stressed that this will not affect access to contraception or the morning after pill, also known as Plan B.
“This bill does not affect the treatment of miscarriages, the treatment of ectopic pregnancies,” Glick said. “It does not affect in vitro fertilization procedures.”
But residents of states with bans similar to Indiana’s proposal have struggled to access lifesaving drugs and treatments that are sometimes used for abortion.
Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) said it was a step backwards for Indiana.
“You just have to watch when people get their hands on this bill and find out that we have an outright ban on abortion in Indiana,” Taylor said. “It will get worse.
There are no criminal penalties in the bill imposed on anyone seeking an abortion. And Bray said the only criminal penalties imposed on a physician who performs a prohibited abortion are those provided by applicable law.
The first public hearing on the bill is Monday.
Republicans also want to tie their abortion ban to legislation that will spend more money on pregnant women, children and parents.
The Senate’s proposed measure, SB 2(ss), would create a new Hoosier Families First Fund and inject $45 million into it.
Bray said the money will be used for organizations that provide services and support to pregnant Hoosiers.
“Access to contraception and pregnancy planning, including removing barriers where we can to long-acting reversible contraception – particularly when the new mother is discharged from hospital, so that ‘She doesn’t get pregnant again soon after,’ Bray said.
Bray said the money will also be used to support better access to childcare, low-income families with children under 4, and support for foster and adoption families. The bill would also increase Indiana’s adoption tax credit to $10,000 per child, up from $1,000 previously.
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Taylor said Democrats have been pushing many of these ideas for a long time, only to be ignored by Republicans.
“Where is the support for families and child care?” Taylor said. “Where is the support for families who need help just to get by?”
The Senate will hold a public hearing on this bill on Tuesday.
House Republicans released their own version of a financial support bill on Wednesday. This measure would cost $78 million.
Of this amount, $20 million would go to exemptions and tax credits. The House GOP plan would increase the amount of the exemption for each child claimed as a dependent, add an additional tax exemption for each adopted child, and increase the state adoption tax credit to $3,000.
The House bill also eliminates the sales tax on diapers, something Democrats have long called for — only to be repeatedly voted down by Republicans.
The additional $58 million in the measure would go to bolster existing programs, including childcare vouchers, nurse-family partnerships and the state safety PIN grant fund, which aims to reduce the infant mortality.
The House bill also expands services covered by Indiana Medicaid and Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 coverage, including donated breast milk, prenatal screenings, and labor and delivery costs.
In a statement, House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) said his caucus shares the Senate’s goals.
“Increasing protections for Indiana’s unborn children while stepping up our investments in overall services to better support new and expectant moms and babies,” Huston said.
House Democratic Leader Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis), however, called the abortion ban “fundamentally cruel” and “not rooted in real science.”
“Protecting the life of the mother without guaranteeing the right to an abortion if the woman’s health is in danger is not life-valuing legislation,” Pryor said in a statement. “Women shouldn’t have to wait until they are near death to access a safe routine healthcare procedure.”
The measure appears to match expectations expressed Wednesday by Indiana Right To Life, one of the state’s most influential anti-abortion groups.
The Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates Indiana State Executive LaKimba DeSadier said the Senate abortion ban “confirms our greatest fears.”
“It’s time for the Indiana State Legislature to start listening — our futures and our lives are literally at stake,” DeSadier said. “We will do everything we can to end these attacks on reproductive freedom.”
Rallies from abortion rights and anti-abortion groups are expected at the Statehouse on Monday.