Indiana adopts restrictive abortion law, causing economic consequences

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

The Indiana law, controlled by the Republicans the state legislature approved Friday night and Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed moments later, it was the first statewide ban passed since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade in June and was celebrated as a great victory by the enemies of abortion.

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

It also came just three days after traditionally conservative Kansas voters shocked the political world by Taking a very different course reject a ballot measure that would have stripped away the abortion rights protections of that state’s constitution.

The Indiana vote capped weeks of tense debate in Indianapolis, where activists rallied at the state Capitol and waged intense lobbying as Republican lawmakers debated how far the law should go to restrict abortion. Some abortion foes hailed the law’s passage as a roadmap for conservatives in other states pushing similar bans following the high court’s decision on Roewhich had guaranteed the right to abortion care for the past 50 years.

Indiana’s ban, which goes into effect Sept. 15, allows abortion only in cases of rape, incest, lethal fetal abnormality or when the procedure is necessary to prevent serious health risks or death. Indiana joins nine other states that ban abortion 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 did not go far enough to stop the procedure.

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

“We are concerned that this law will hamper Lilly’s, and Indiana’s, ability to attract diverse business and scientific engineering talent from around the world,” the company said in a statement released Saturday. “Given this new law, we will be forced to plan for further 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 relocate employees to states with abortion restrictions, though he 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 considering how it will affect the state’s tourism industry.

“Such an accelerated legislative process, which rushes to advance statewide policy on broad and complex issues, is at best detrimental to the people of Indiana and at worst unwise,” the chamber said in a statement. statement, asking, “Will the Indy region continue to attract convention and tourism 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 industry.

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

Indiana may be just the beginning. Abortion rights advocates estimate that abortion could be severely restricted or banned in as many as 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 September 15, the date the legislation takes effect. unless abortion activists go to court and get a court order beforehand.

Indiana has considered restrictions on abortion for years, though it remains a state that many in the region travel to for abortion services. Now, as many nearby states, including Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia, also push to ban abortion, patients may have to travel hundreds of miles in some cases to get care, said Elizabeth Nash, a policy expert at the Guttmacher Institute. who supports abortion. Rights. “Patients in Ohio will not be able to go to Indiana for access. They will have to get to, maybe, Illinois or Michigan,” she said.

The passage of the Indiana measure came just weeks after national attention focused on a 10-year-old girl who was raped in Ohio, where abortion is prohibited after six weeks, and traveled 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 realizing 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 move drew swift condemnation from national Democrats, who sought to cast Republicans as extremists on abortion, citing the Kansas vote earlier this week, where even rural and conservative parts of the state refused to change constitutional law. from the state to abortion.

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

However, Democrats are hopeful that they can use what happened in Indiana to portray the entire GOP as extremist on abortion.

“This has nothing to do with being ‘pro-life,’” California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) tweeted. “It’s about power and control.”

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

so when indiana republicans banning abortion in an entire state, “effectively speaks for all Republicans,” said Martha McKenna, a Democratic political strategist, “and so I’m hopeful it’s going to be a good issue for Democrats in November.”

Another political strategist, Jonathan Levy, who worked with the Kansas Constitutional Freedom Campaign, which opposes limiting abortion rights, said the Kansas vote showed that extreme anti-abortion positions “are going to be rejected by Americans across the political spectrum. The American people want lawmakers to focus on how to keep food on the table and keep the economy afloat. They think the priorities of the legislature are out of whack,” he said.

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

The bill’s passage left health providers and abortion counseling agencies scrambling to discover the full impact of the legislation.

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

“We will take the next few 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 goes into effect, said Carol McCord, a former Planned Parenthood employee.

“Since this will soon be illegal in Indiana, we are looking at 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 have already traveled out of state, said Jessica Marchbank, who serves as manager of state programs for the Center for All-Options Pregnancy Resources in Bloomington.

Democratic state lawmakers began strategizing Saturday on how to respond, including considering repeal measures and organizing voters to elect pro-choice lawmakers.

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

Immediately, Yoder said in an interview that she and like-minded state lawmakers are contemplating actions that could undo the impact of the new law, noting that the legislature has not been formally suspended.

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

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

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

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

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

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