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Indiana becomes first state to pass almost-total abortion ban since Roe's reversal

Gov. Eric Holcomb
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb speaks at a press conference on April 6, 2021. |

Indiana has passed a law that bans most abortions, becoming the first state since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade to pass a near-total ban on abortion. 

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed Senate Enrolled Act 1 into law last week following a special session of the state legislature. The new legislation is scheduled to take effect next month.

The new law clarifies that it doesn't apply to in vitro fertilization, and allows for abortions in cases of rape, incest, lethal fetal deformity and serious health emergency for the mother.  

In a statement, Holcomb said that after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, he was “willing to support legislation that made progress in protecting life.”

“SEA 1 accomplishes this goal following its passage in both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly with a solid majority of support,” he stated.

“These actions followed long days of hearings filled with sobering and personal testimony from citizens and elected representatives on this emotional and complex topic. Ultimately, those voices shaped and informed the final contents of the legislation and its carefully negotiated exceptions to address some of the unthinkable circumstances a woman or unborn child might face.”

Holcomb commended state Sen. Sue Glick and Rep. Wendy McNamara for their “brave authorship of SEA 1,” saying they have “demonstrated a steady hand and uncanny poise while carrying this once-in-a-generation legislation.”

The Biden administration, which has been pursuing various efforts to undermine local and state-level abortion bans, denounced the passage of the Indiana law.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre released a statement calling the newly passed Indiana ban “radical” and “a devastating step.”

“Yesterday’s vote, which institutes a near-total abortion ban in Indiana, should be a signal to Americans across the country to make their voices heard.  Congress should also act immediately to pass a law restoring the protections of Roe – the only way to secure a woman’s right to choose nationally,” stated Jean-Pierre.

“Until then, President Biden is committed to taking action to protect women’s reproductive rights and freedom, and access to care they are afforded under Federal law.”

On June 24, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in Dobbs v. Jackson that abortion was not a constitutional right, overturning the landmark 1973 decision Roe v. Wade.

As a result of the decision, several states have had trigger laws go into effect to ban abortions in most circumstances, while other states have debated whether their state constitutions still protect abortion. Indiana is the first state to pass a ban through both houses of its state legislature since last month's ruling. 

Last week, West Virginia had the opportunity to become the first state after both houses passed an abortion bill but couldn't agree on amendments adopted in the Senate version. The bill has been delayed until next month. 

Last Tuesday, a majority of voters in Kansas rejected a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have clarified that abortion was not a constitutional right.

Known as the “Value Them Both” Amendment, the measure would have allowed the state to ban elective abortions. The measure failed as 58.8% voted no while only 41.2% voted yes.

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