Indiana adopts restrictive abortion law, causing economic consequences

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Indiana’s new blanket abortion ban produced immediate political and economic fallout Saturday as some of the state’s top employers opposed the restrictions, while Democratic leaders floated ways to amend or repeal the law and abortion rights activists made plans to organize alternative sites for women seeking. procedures

Indiana’s law, which the Republican-controlled state legislature passed Friday night and Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed moments later, was the first statewide ban passed since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down lar Roe v. Wade in June and was celebrated as a major victory for abortion foes.

On August 5, Indiana lawmakers passed a near-total abortion ban. Governor Eric Holcomb (R) signed the bill into law. (Video: The Washington Post)

It also came just three days after voters in traditionally conservative Kansas stunned the political world by taking a very different stance, rejecting a ballot measure that would have stripped that state’s constitution of abortion rights protections.

The vote in Indiana ended weeks of intense debate in Indianapolis, where activists rallied at the state Capitol and mounted intense lobbying campaigns as Republican lawmakers debated how far the law should go to restrict abortion. . Some abortion foes hailed the law’s passage as a road map for conservatives in other states pushing for similar bans after the high court’s Roe decision, which had guaranteed for the past 50 years the right to abortion care.

Indiana’s ban, which will take effect on September 15, allows abortion only in cases of rape, incest, lethal fetal abnormality or when the procedure is necessary to prevent serious risks to health or death. Indiana joins nine other states that have abortion bans from conception.

The new law represents a victory for anti-abortion forces, which have been working for decades to stop the procedure. But the passage came after disagreements among some abortion foes, some of whom thought the bill didn’t go far enough to stop the procedure.

After the legislation was signed, Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical giant and one of the state’s largest employers, warned that the laws would hurt its hiring efforts and said the company would look into its plans to ‘expansion elsewhere.

“We are concerned that this law will hinder Lilly and Indiana’s ability to attract scientific and business engineering talent from around the world,” the company said in a statement issued Saturday. “Given this new law, we will be forced to plan for more job growth outside of our home state.”

See where abortion laws have changed

Salesforce, the tech giant with 2,300 employees in Indiana, had previously offered to relocate employees to states with abortion restrictions, though it did not respond Saturday to a request for comment on the Indiana law.

The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce also warned that the ban was passed too quickly and without consideration of how it will affect the state’s tourism industry.

“Such an expedited legislative process, rushing to advance state policy on broad and complex issues, is at best harmful to Hoosiers and at worst unwise,” the chamber said in a statement. asking, “Will the Indy region continue to attract tourism and convention investment?

Indiana lost 12 conventions and an estimated $60 million in business after passing a religious freedom law in 2015, according to a estimation of the local tourism sector.

Indiana is the first state to ban abortion by the legislature since the Supreme Court’s decision that overturned Roe v. Wade in June. Other states enacted “trigger laws” that went into effect with Roe’s overturn.

Indiana may be just the beginning. Abortion rights advocates estimate that abortion could be severely restricted or banned in half of the 50 states.

An official with Indiana Right to Life, an Indiana anti-abortion group, said the new law will end 95 percent of abortions in Indiana and close all Indiana abortion clinics on Sept. 15. that the legislation would go into effect unless abortion activists went to court and obtained a preliminary injunction.

Indiana has seen abortion restrictions for years, though it remained a state where many in the region traveled for abortion care. Now, with many nearby states, including Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia, also pushing abortion bans, patients may have to travel hundreds of miles in some cases to get care, said Elizabeth Nash, a policy expert at the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion. rights “Ohio patients won’t be able to go to Indiana to access it. They’ll have to go to, maybe, Illinois or Michigan,” he said.

The passage of Indiana’s measure came just weeks after national attention focused on a 10-year-old girl who was raped in Ohio, where abortion is banned after six weeks, and travel to Indiana to terminate the pregnancy.

Caitlin Bernard, the doctor who performed that abortion in Indianapolis, tweeted Saturday that she was “devastated” by the legislature’s action. “How many girls and women will be hurt before they realize this needs to be reversed? I will continue to fight for them with every fiber of my being,” she wrote.

Doctors are reluctant to work in anti-abortion states

Indiana’s measure drew swift condemnation from national Democrats, who sought to cast Republicans as extremists on abortion, citing a vote earlier this week in Kansas, where even the rural and conservative parts of the state refused to change the state’s constitutional right to abortion.

The law is “another radical step by Republican lawmakers to eliminate women’s reproductive rights and freedom,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

Democrats hope, however, that they can use what happened in Indiana to turn the entire Republican Party on abortion.

“This has nothing to do with being ‘pro-life,'” tweeted California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). “This is about power and control.”

In Washington, Republican leaders have been largely silent on the push by Republican-led states to ban abortion. Polls consistently show that near-total abortion bans like Indiana’s are unpopular with the general public.

So when Indiana Republicans ban abortion statewide, “they’re effectively speaking for all Republicans,” said Martha McKenna, a Democratic political strategist, “and that’s why I hope it’s a good issue for Democrats in the November”.

Another political strategist, Jonathan Levy, who worked at the Kansans for Constitutional Freedom campaign, which opposes limiting abortion rights, said the Kansas vote showed that extreme positions against the abortion “will be rejected by Americans across the political spectrum.” The American people want lawmakers to focus on how to keep food on the table, keep the economy afloat. They think the legislature’s priorities are out of whack,” he said.

Along with a near-total abortion ban, Indiana Republicans passed legislation they said was aimed at supporting pregnant women and mothers, but critics pointed out that much of the money went to to support pregnancy crisis centers run by anti-abortion groups.

Health care providers and abortion counseling agencies were scrambling to figure out the full impact of the legislation.

Indiana University Health, a major health care provider in the state, issued a statement saying it was trying to determine what the ban meant for its doctors and patients.

“We will return in the coming weeks to fully understand the terms of the new law and how to incorporate changes into our medical practice to protect our providers and serve people seeking reproductive health,” the health provider said in a statement.

Meanwhile, activists began discussing plans to raise funds and provide transportation for those seeking abortion access after the ban takes effect, said Carol McCord, a former Planned Parenthood employee.

“Since it will soon be illegal in Indiana, we are looking for ways to help women travel to get the services they need,” she said. Indiana’s law was already considered restrictive compared to other states, so about 35 percent of women seeking abortions already traveled out of state, said Jessica Marchbank, who serves as a manager of statewide programs from the All-Choice Pregnancy Resource Center in Bloomington.

Democratic state lawmakers on Saturday began strategizing how to respond, including considering repeal measures and organizing voters to elect lawmakers who favor abortion rights.

“This is a dark time for Indiana,” said state Sen. Shelli Yoder, assistant to the Democratic caucus chair. “The plan going forward is to make sure we go out in November and vote for the individuals who supported something that only a small minority of Hoosiers wanted.”

Yoder said in an interview that she and like-minded state lawmakers are considering short-term actions that could undo the impact of the new law, noting that the legislature has not formally adjourned.

“We can go back and fix it,” he said, adding that lawmakers are in the early stages of planning how to do that.

Katie Blair, the director of advocacy and public policy for the American Civil Liberties Union in Indiana, said Saturday that her organization will consider legal action.

“You can be assured that our legal team will work with partners to evaluate all legal avenues available to defend abortion access here in Indiana,” Blair said in a statement.

In signing the legislation, Holcomb applauded the work of lawmakers he had called into special session this summer to find a way to restrict abortion, acknowledging disagreements among abortion opponents.

“These actions came after long days of hearings filled with personal and thoughtful testimony from citizens and elected representatives on this emotional and complex issue,” the governor said in a statement. “Ultimately, these voices shaped and informed the final content of the legislation and its carefully negotiated exceptions to address some of the unthinkable circumstances a woman or unborn child could face.”

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