Indiana has become the first state where legislators voted to ban abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade six weeks ago.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a near-total ban on Friday after both houses of the legislature voted to pass the bill. The law, which will take effect September 15, provides exceptions to protect the life and physical health of the mother and if an unborn child is diagnosed with a lethal anomaly. It also allows abortions up to 10 weeks gestation in cases of rape or incest.
Victims of rape and incest would not be required to sign a notarized affidavit attesting to an attack, said the Associated Press.
“Under the bill, abortions can be performed only in hospitals or outpatient centers owned by hospitals, meaning all abortion clinics would lose their licenses,” said the wire service. “A doctor who performs an illegal abortion or fails to file required reports must also lose their medical license — wording that tightens current Indiana law that says a doctor ‘may’ lose their license.”
The tallies for the bill were 28-19 in the Senate and 62-38 in the House. Eight Republicans joined all 11 Democrats in voting against the bill.
The bill originated with a Special Session of the legislature on July 25, a day after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision, which overturned Roe. The Indiana Catholic Conference lauded the bill – SB1 – as a “step in the right direction,” but said early on that it still needed improvement “in order to provide meaningful protection for preborn children.”
“Most importantly, the bill needs stronger enforcement mechanisms and a continued tightening of the language around exceptions,” the conference said.
Even though the bill did not completely ban abortion and thus is “imperfect according to the Church’s moral teaching,” the conference said, “we can legitimately support an incrementally better law without tiring in our commitment to improve it (see Evangelium Vitae #73).”