Indiana lawmakers comment on first state abortion ban since Roe overturned – The Washington Post

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Indiana lawmakers approved a near-total ban on abortion Friday, making the state the first in the nation to pass sweeping limits on access to the procedure since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.

The Republican-dominated state Senate passed the legislation in a 28-19 vote that had divided GOP legislators over how far the ban should go. Before Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed the bill into law on Friday, some GOP members had expressed support for allowing abortion in cases of rape and incest, while others opposed the bill because of those exceptions.

The measure, which will go into effect Sept. 15, allows abortion only in cases of rape, incest, lethal fetal abnormality or when the procedure is necessary to prevent severe health risks or death. Here’s what some state officials said on the ban:

Rep. John Jacob (R):

“The body inside of the mom’s body is not her body. Let me repeat that: The body inside of the mom’s body is not her body. Not her body, not her choice,” said Jacob, a staunch abortion opponent who supported removing exceptions including for rape.

“Trying to end all abortion is not forced birth, but rather it is trying to end murdering children,” he said on the floor.

Rep. Renee Pack (D):

“Sir, I am not a murderer. And my sisters are not murderers, either,” she said.

Pack told the chamber she had an abortion in 1990 while serving in the army, according to the Indianapolis Star. “We are pro-choice. That is what we are,” she added. “We believe we have command over our own bodies.”

Rep. Wendy McNamara (R):

“I think we’ve landed in a great place and good policy for the state of Indiana,” said McNamara, who sponsored the House bill. She told reporters the ban “makes Indiana one of the most pro-life states in the nation.”

Indiana passes near-total abortion ban, the first state to do so post-Roe

Sen. Mike Bohacek (R):

Bohacek, who voted against the bill, could not finish his testimony as he spoke about his daughter, who has Down syndrome, and his concerns about protecting rape victims with disabilities. “If she loses her favorite stuffed animal, she’s inconsolable,” he said. “Imagine making her carry a child to term,” he said before choking up and stepping away.

Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D):

Pryor referenced the recent case of a 10-year-old rape victim who had to travel to Indiana for the procedure because abortions are now banned in Ohio after six weeks. “I just don’t understand why we would force a baby, really at 10, to have a baby,” Pryor said.

Sen. Jean Leising (R):

“By closing abortion clinics and limiting abortions to only the most heartbreaking instances, we are making massive strides for the pro-life movement,” said Leising, who called Friday “a monumental day,” according to WRTV in Indianapolis. She said the ban should be “combined with funding increases directed toward pregnancy services and easing the financial burden of adoption.”

Sen. Jean D. Breaux (D):

“Eight of us in this chamber have ever had the possibility of becoming pregnant, yet we are about to tell millions of Hoosier women what they can do with their bodies,” she said.

Breaux described the legislation as an infringement on democracy, “Women should have the right to make these decisions in consultation with their doctors, not their state legislators,” she wrote in a tweet.

Rep. Ann Vermilion (R):

Vermilion condemned fellow Republicans for describing women who obtain abortions as murderers. “I think that the Lord’s promise is for grace and kindness,” she said, according to the Associated Press. “He would not be jumping to condemn these women.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb (R):

“Following the overturning of Roe, I stated clearly that I would be willing to support legislation that made progress in protecting life,” he said in a statement. After days of hearings and testimony, he said the legislation “and its carefully negotiated exceptions” addressed “some of the unthinkable circumstances a woman or unborn child might face.”

“I am personally most proud of each Hoosier who came forward to courageously share their views in a debate that is unlikely to cease any time soon,” Holcomb added.

Amy Cheng and Kim Bellware contributed to this report.

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