Elected officials, advocacy groups react to passage of Indiana abortion bill

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana State Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 1, a statewide abortion ban with limited exceptions, late Friday night. Many lawmakers, elected officials and advocacy groups responded on both sides.

Below are all of the responses sent to our newsroom:

Indiana Democratic Party

“The Indiana Republican Party has now made it against the law for Hoosiers to have a safe and legal abortion, and it’s without a doubt Senate Bill 1 will endanger women and little girls’ lives across the state. This mandate is the worst form of government overreach, and it’s why Indiana Democrats implore Governor Eric Holcomb to veto this legislation and tell his own Indiana GOP that they have once again crossed the line and are too extreme for Hoosier families. 

Should he sign Senate Bill 1 into law, Holcomb will create an Indiana where women and even young girls will be forced to give birth and see their lives put at risk due to unwanted or dangerous pregnancies. This includes rape and incest survivors, because as it stands, the bill’s red lines on these exceptions are too extreme and will create numerous instances of survivors coming forward way too late – especially our girls. Further, many health care providers have made it clear they could be forced to wait until a woman or child is near death before invoking a life-saving abortion. They will be forced between abiding by the state’s dangerous ideology or adhering to their Hippocratic Oaths.

A woman’s health care decisions should be left between her and her doctor – not politicians. With Senate Bill 1, Indiana Republicans are invading a person’s right to privacy and are actively making women second-class citizens. Republicans have shown Hoosiers they put an extremist agenda first, and now is the time for voters to hold them accountable. Voters in red-leaning Kansas made it crystal clear that being pro-choice should be an American right, and Indiana Democrats will work with the majority of Hoosiers to elect pro-choice candidates this fall so that the this state’s Republican supermajority can finally meet its rightful demise.”

Myla Eldridge, Vice Chair of Indiana Democratic Party

Indiana State Republicans

“The Indiana Senate today passed legislation to protect life, support pregnant and new mothers and their families, provide financial relief for Hoosiers and pay down state debt

Senate Bill 1 (ss), authored by State Sen. Sue Glick (R-LaGrange), and Senate Bill 2 (ss), authored by State Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle), work together as a package to protect life and provide assistance for expectant and new mothers and their families.

SB 1 (ss) prohibits abortions except to protect the life or physical health of the mother, in cases where a pregnancy is forced on a woman through the horrific acts of rape and incest, or when an unborn child suffers from a fatal fetal anomaly.

The new law does not affect access to the morning-after pill or any other method of birth control, does not affect treatment of miscarriages, does not affect treatment of ectopic pregnancies, does not affect in-vitro fertilization procedures and does not criminalize women seeking an abortion.

SB 1 (ss) does not create any new criminal penalties for doctors who perform abortions – the existing penalty subjecting a doctor to a criminal charge for performing an illegal abortion will remain in place.”

Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor

“Shame on this body for rejecting the voices of women and doctors by passing this unpopular, unwanted bill out of the Legislature. We came to the Statehouse to help Hoosiers, but we’re about to leave having passed one of our most harmful policies to date. Senate Bill 1 won’t promote life but death in our state, and I hope this supermajority is ready to take responsibility for the women and girls who will lose their lives to their dangerous legislation. 

“I’m especially saddened for the victims of rape and incest who have so little protection under SB 1 and who will be especially vulnerable after experiencing the most painful thing that a person could go through. Thanks to Republicans in Indiana, rapists will now get to choose the mothers of their children and if it happens to be a ten-year-old child who can’t even understand what pregnancy entails—so be it, according to my colleagues. 

“During this special session, my caucus offered a number of amendments that supported life—amendments such as those to reduce maternal mortality, help homeless pregnant mothers and expand economic support for pregnant women—but my ‘pro-life’ colleagues didn’t like those. They did like Senate Bill 2, however, which provides imaginary relief for Hoosiers by way of a gas cap that isn’t expected to ever be met now that gas prices are going down. That’s what this supermajority has proven it’s about: passing legislation that fails to help Hoosiers even as they insist they’re trying to help the people struggling in our state.

“Unfortunately, I haven’t seen that to be true—not during this special session and not with the vote on SB 1. All I’ve seen from my colleagues this session is an abuse of power that comes from not having accountability at the polls. Women will die because of Senate Bill 1, and it’s unfortunate that Republicans in the Indiana General Assembly are willing to make that sacrifice to pass a regressive bill that no one supports. Even though this ban has been passed, this fight isn’t over. My caucus will be back at the Statehouse in January to continue our fight for women’s reproductive access, and we will not back down until women have complete control of their bodies as they have for the last 50 years.”

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray

“The issues we have grappled with in this special session are extremely difficult, but we have taken an enormous step forward in protecting unborn lives in our state while ensuring we provide the resources our new and expectant mothers may need. In addition, we were able to help Hoosiers who are struggling due to inflation by way of a $1 billion automatic taxpayer refund while simultaneously taking care of Indiana’s own fiscal house.”

State Sen. Michael Griffin

“The passage of SB 1 leaves me deeply concerned for the women of our state and for Indiana’s future. Today, I fear that we have elevated a singular faith position above all others. My faith and beliefs—while earnestly and deeply held—should not be a legal basis for the choices of others. Senate Bill 1 is an imposition on religious freedom and exercise, and a deeply troubling governmental overreach into individuals’ most private matters and decisions. It’s also astonishing to see it passed over so much Hoosier outcry: almost no one testified in favor of the bill. We are also handing pregnant women and unplanned children over to a state ill-prepared to handle them: Indiana has weak pregnancy accommodations, high infant and maternal mortality rates, and precious little social infrastructure. As a true and earnest believer in personal liberty, religious freedom, and representative democracy, I mourn the passage of SB 1.”

State Sen. Sue Glick

“Our mission this special session was to protect the unborn and make clear that we are not here to criminalize women. With the passage of Senate Bill 1 (ss) today, we took a huge step forward in a post-Roe world by ensuring more babies have the right to life. We are also providing women with the support they need before, during and after their pregnancy with the passage of the wraparound services in Senate Bill 2 (ss). Life is precious and we believe we have respected that with the bills we passed into law.”

State Sen. Jean Breaux

“Today is a historically bad day in Indiana’s history. SB 1 is extreme legislation and government overreach into the most personal aspects of life. Women should have the right to make these decisions in consultation with their doctors, not their state legislators. Indiana already has the 3rd worst maternal mortality rate in the nation and women of color die at 2.5 times the rate of white women.  Our investments to improve maternal health are woefully short of what is needed. I urge Governor Holcomb to stand with the majority of Hoosiers and veto this horrible bill.”

ACLU of Indiana

“It is a dark day in the state of Indiana. The General Assembly has passed a ban on abortion, turning back the clock 50 years on Hoosiers’ fundamental right to control their own bodies. S.B. 1 will force women to either travel hundreds of miles or carry pregnancies against their will, resulting in life-altering consequences and serious health risks. This is an unconscionable attack on our freedom.  

“Indiana is, once again, making history by passing legislation that takes our state backward. Despite an unprecedented turnout from Hoosiers who oppose a ban on abortion, Indiana has become the first state in the country to pass a new abortion ban since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade

“Hoosiers have a constitutional right to privacy, and these deeply private, personal, and unique decisions should be made by women in consultation with their doctors. What is right for one family may not be right for another.   “Across the county, states with bans on abortion are facing numerous lawsuits, and these laws are being blocked in the courts. The ACLU of Indiana exists to defend Hoosiers’ rights as protected by the U.S., and the state constitution. You can guarantee that our legal team will be working with partners to evaluate every legal avenue available to defend abortion access here in Indiana.”

Katie Blair, public policy director at the ACLU of Indiana

Candidate for Marion County Prosecutor Cyndi Carrasco

“Ryan Mears has proven to be a delinquent prosecutor. He is the reason the legislature felt the need to create a Prosecutorial Oversight Task Force. Expending resources on a legislative task force would not be necessary, but for Mears’ constant political grandstanding and refusal to enforce law after law, which has led to record crime in Marion County.

As Prosecutor, I will put politics aside and return our focus to holding criminals accountable, fighting the violent crime plaguing our communities, and making Marion County safe. Regardless of the topic, I will always carefully review the facts surrounding each case and be an advocate for victims.”

State Sen. Shelli Yoder

“Thanks to Indiana Republicans, Hoosier women are now lesser human beings than we were yesterday. We have lost the right to self-determination, to autonomy, to the futures we want to build for ourselves. A legislature composed of 80% men has declared women secondary to any potential life she could ever carry inside of her. It is an outrage. It is an imposition on freedom, equality, on the values of democracy. It’s a betrayal of Hoosiers, most of whom want access to abortion to stand in some form. It’s a sign to all women and healthcare providers: you are not welcome, you are not wanted, you are not valued.

It’s an appalling overreach, and the arrogance and apathy it took to vote for this legislation is something I hope I never understand. I’ve opposed this bill in every form at every stage, and I will continue to oppose it as the law of the land. This bill is a stain on Indiana.”

Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter

“We believe substantive changes to SB1 in the House provide renewed hope that over 95 percent of Indiana’s 8,414 abortions will end if it becomes law. The House amendments will make abortion clinics a thing of the past in Indiana effective mid-September, and abortions for limited circumstances will be performed only in hospitals or hospital-owned surgical centers. 

“We are, nonetheless, disappointed that an amendment to limit abortions to only the life-of-the-mother fell short in a roll call vote. Yet we applaud those House members supporting the amendment for doing all they could to limit SB1’s exceptions. We will continue to work to build consensus going forward that all lives are to be valued, regardless of the means of one’s conception.

“Although we cannot fully endorse the amended SB1 due to its rape, incest, and lethal fetal anomaly exceptions, we do acknowledge the path forward is to either embrace the potential to end the vast majority of abortions in Indiana now, or to allow all abortions to continue under current law, making Indiana an abortion-destination state and driving abortion numbers even higher.

“We encourage Gov. Holcomb to sign SB1 into law. It’s time for Indiana to move forward in love and compassion by expanding protections for unborn children.”

Jennifer Allen, CEO of Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates

“This attack on maternal health is outrageous and we call on Governor Holcomb to side with the majority and veto S.B 1. This abortion ban would deny Hoosiers the care they need, with catastrophic impacts on Indiana’s already dire maternal mortality crisis. The Indiana government is inserting itself into private decisions about when and whether to have children and it is unconscionable and unacceptable. We cannot let extremist Indiana lawmakers take away our control over our own bodies. We must put the people of Indiana first and stop this ban here, now, and permanently.”

State Sen. Kyle Walker

“Tonight, I voted no on Senate Bill 1(ss) because it does not strike the right balance for women to make their own health decisions while also protecting the life of the unborn. Further, the time allowed for the exceptions for rape or incest victims and for fatal fetal anomalies is far less than I believe is appropriate.”

State Sen. David Niezgodski

“Today’s vote marks a deeply concerning backwards step for Indiana and for Hoosier women. Though I am personally pro-life, I believe even more so in individuals’ free will and their right to make their own choices. I will never have to make the decision these women do, and I will not support a bill that restricts their right to do so with so little compromise. I fear the precedent we set with Senate Bill 1 and I fear for the future of Indiana, which will seem suddenly unwelcoming and hostile to millions of women and healthcare workers. In the interest of Indiana and Hoosiers, I cast a no vote on SB 1.”

State Sen. Jack Sandlin

“This is a monumental day for the unborn in Indiana. By closing abortion clinics and limiting abortions to only the most heartbreaking instances, we are making massive strides for the pro-life movement. These steps, combined with funding increases directed toward pregnancy services and easing the financial burden of adoption, put Indiana in a position to be a shining example of how to move past abortion and give mothers and families the ability to raise happy, healthy children.”

State Sen. JD Ford

“I am deeply disappointed that the excessive majority chose to pass Senate Bill 1 and roll back the clock 50 years. They chose to listen to a special interest group over everyday Hoosiers, who adamantly oppose this cruel bill. The ramifications of this legislation for women are endless, even deadly. That’s not hyperbole—in a state with the 3rd highest maternal mortality rate in the nation, this ban will kill women. The majority are not ending abortions, only safe ones. I firmly believe that this bill denies a woman bodily autonomy and her right to make her own healthcare decisions.

During testimony, we heard many faith leaders—Christian and non-Christian—speak in adamant opposition to this bill. SB 1 undermines the many religions in Indiana that have diverse thoughts and beliefs on the subject of life and abortion. No one religion should trump another under our laws. 

Finally, not one Hoosier genuinely testified in favor of the bill. The people of Indiana are against SB 1 and we should have scrapped the bill in the Senate. Unfortunately, we did not, and I encourage Hoosiers to reach out to Governor Holcomb and encourage him to veto this cruel bill.”

State Sen. Jean Leising

“Like the majority of Senate District 42 constituents who answered my survey, I believe every mother and unborn child are worthy of dignity and legal protection, and today the Indiana legislature made great strides in ensuring that through Senate Enrolled Act 1 (ss).

“The bill includes exceptions for rape, incest, life or physical health of the mother and fatal fetal anomalies with time limitations.

“Senate Republicans understand Indiana residents need additional support, which is why we passed a companion bill – Senate Enrolled Act 2 (ss) – which allocates funds for family support programs and provides financial relief to residents through an additional automatic taxpayer refund.

“As we see more babies born in a post-Roe world, Indiana must do everything it can to support women in delivering and raising healthy children, while helping them prevent unexpected pregnancies through contraception and education. In doing so, Indiana will continue to be a home for many to feel treasured and supported in leading fulfilling lives.”

State Sen. Rodney Pol

“The passage of SB 1 is an insult to women, families, and everyone who treasures the right to privacy. This is a seismic shift in some of the most private and deeply held personal and civil rights we have held for a lifetime. Besides being a dangerous precedent of overreach and intrusion into the most private parts of our most personal lives, it sends a message to the world: Indiana does not trust its women and young girls. Indiana does not listen to experts sounding alarms on serious medical and mental health issues. Indiana is too focused on stripping away civil rights to understand what the real-world consequences are to women. Indiana does not care what your plans are for yourself, your kids, or your family.”

“SB1 takes away a woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions and fails to provide any expanded access to contraception. Expanding family planning and access to contraception are the real pro-family policies that will reduce abortions. We know this because other states that have expanded access to contraception have seen declining abortion rates. Indiana already ranks in the bottom 10 in the nation on maternal and infant mortality and we have come up woefully short on the investments we need to improve those outcomes. This is government overreach into the most personal aspects of life that goes against what the majority of Hoosiers want and it’s a huge step backward for our state.”

State Sen. Fady Qaddoura

“I’m extremely disappointed the Statehouse Republicans passed this extreme legislation that restricts reproductive rights in Indiana, disregards science and medicine, and forces one religious view on all Hoosiers regardless of their religious or non-religious values. In a pluralistic society, legislators should not impose their religious beliefs to restrict civil liberties and freedoms of any citizen. SB 1 is an extreme government overreach and an unfunded mandate in a state that is ill-equipped to serve Hoosier children, foster youth, adopted children, and already ranks in the bottom ten nationally on infant and maternal health. I don’t believe that the God of any faith promotes rape or incest or that any child should be forced by the government to carry another child from those horrific acts. I trust Hoosier women to make these decisions in consultation with their physicians and faith if they choose to rather than a male-dominated, non-medical, General Assembly making health decisions for women. Legislators shouldn’t play God or politicize women’s healthcare. I stand with all Hoosier women and will continue to champion their freedoms and civil liberties.” 

State Sen. Tim Lanane

“If this body really believed in liberty, autonomy and small government, this bill would have been dead on arrival. It wouldn’t have even been considered, let alone passed. As it stands, today marks a backward slide into history, into a past where the lives and destinies of women are dictated by their government. The Republicans seem intent on pushing their religious beliefs, their moral crusade and their own backwards attitudes onto Hoosiers against overwhelming opposition. Meanwhile, as they rush through stripping women’s rights and ignoring 50 years of legal precedent, Republicans say ‘next session’ to Democratic pushes to improve support and services for pregnant women and infants. Republicans’ vision for our state and their policy stance has never been clearer: Welcome to the new Indiana, where forced birth is a moral imperative, and your individual rights are subject to extremist big government intrusion.”

Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Eddie Melton

“Unfortunately, Senate Bill 1 has passed the Legislature despite the collective rejection of Hoosiers, medical professionals and advocacy groups. Today, the General Assembly soundly refused to listen to the will of Hoosiers and advanced a policy that their own polls showed was unpopular. Today, I mourn for women who are being stripped of vital healthcare and bodily autonomy, and I vow to keep fighting for the essential health care access that all women deserve. 

“Today was a loss for Indiana, for women and for Democracy, and I’m disappointed by the entire special session process that just wrapped up. The voices of the people were routinely drowned out and the policy we advanced will sacrifice women in a misguided attempt to support life. It’s tragic, and my caucus will never stop fighting to right the wrong that was done here today. Next session and beyond, we will be fighting to restore women’s bodily autonomy, freedom and equality in Indiana. This is the 21st century—no Hoosiers should be suffering the indignity of living as a second-class citizen without full human rights.”

This article will be updated with more responses as they are sent.

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