Jul 25, 2022 - Health

Indiana holds special session on near-total abortion ban

Photo of protesters crowding the Indiana state capital rotunda
Anti-abortion and abortion rights activists protest on multiple floors within the Indiana state capitol rotunda on July 25, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana during a special session concerning abortion access in the state. Photo: Jon Cherry via Getty Images

Indiana on Monday is convening a special legislative session to consider a new bill that would completely ban abortion except in cases of rape or incest or if the pregnant person's life is at risk.

Why it matters: Though Indiana didn't have a trigger ban in place for the fall of Roe, "the legislature has enacted 55 abortion restrictions and bans, paving the way for a comprehensive ban," according to Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that support abortion rights.

  • The special session also comes as Vice President Harris is slated to meet with state legislators Monday before the debate opens.

Details: Abortion in Indiana is currently legal up to 22 weeks after the last menstrual period, but an abortion seeker must receive counseling, undergo an ultrasound and wait 18 hours before receiving the procedure.

  • Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) called the General Assembly for a special session originally scheduled for July 6 before it was postponed to July 25. Indiana code dictates that it must end by Aug. 14.
  • The state legislature has a Republican supermajority in both chambers.

The big picture: Indiana's policies have come into the spotlight in recent weeks after a 10-year-old girl who was raped in Ohio traveled to Indiana for an abortion.

  • The case made international headlines and led to outrage across the country, including from the White House.
  • For the Indiana doctor, it also spurred intense vitriol and threats to her safety and career for her role in the operation. Caitlin Bernard has since taken the first legal steps to sue Indiana's attorney general for defamation over his comments alleging medical misconduct.
  • In a Washington Post opinion last week, Bernard wrote that "[l]egislators are the last people who should be in the business of deciding who gets medical care and who does not."
  • "Imagine being forced to tell someone in crisis: 'I know how to take care of you, and I have everything needed right here, but our state government has told me I can’t,'" she wrote."
  • Republican legislators in the state have argued though that the bill is "not about criminalizing women" and does not create any new penalties for abortion providers, per AP.
  • "It’s about preserving the dignity of life and helping mothers bring new happy, healthy babies in the world," state Sen. Sue Glick (R), who sponsored the bill, said on the floor last week.

Worth noting: The Supreme Court recently issued an order allowing Indiana officials to enforce a law requiring a minor to obtain parental consent for an abortion.

Go deeper: Roe v. Wade summary: Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade

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