The new broad ban on abortion in Indiana had immediate political and economic effects on Saturday as some of the largest employers could oppose the restrictions, Democratic leaders devised ways to amend or repeal the law, and abortion rights activists planned to organize alternative locations for women seeking the procedure.
Indiana law, which the Republican-controlled state legislature passed late Friday night and signed shortly after by Governor Eric Holcomb (R), was the first state ban passed since the US Supreme Court punished Roe v. Wade in June and was celebrated as a great victory for the enemies who perform abortions.
It also came just three days after voters in the traditionally conservative state of Kansas surprised the political world by taking a completely different path, rejecting a voting measure that would strip the state’s constitution of its protection of the right to abortion.
The vote in Indiana ended weeks of heated debate in Indianapolis, with activists demonstrating in the Capitol and conducting intense lobbying campaigns while Republican lawmakers debated how far the law should go in restricting abortion. Some anti-abortion opponents hailed the law’s passage as a roadmap for conservatives in other states implementing similar bans following a Supreme Court ruling in the Roe case, which has guaranteed the right to abortion custody for the past 50 years.
The Indiana ban, which entered into force on September 15, only allows abortion in the case of rape, incest, fatal fetal malformation, or when surgery is necessary to prevent serious health risks or death. Indiana joins nine other states where abortion is effective from conception.
The new law marks a victory for the anti-abortion forces that have been working for decades to stop the procedure. But the transition followed a disagreement between some of the enemies of abortion, some of whom believed the law had not gone far enough to stop the procedure.
After the bill was signed, Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical giant and one of the largest employers in the state, warned that such laws would hurt employee recruitment efforts and said the company would look elsewhere for its expansion plans.
“We are concerned that this law will limit Lilly’s – and Indiana’s – ability to attract a wide variety of scientific engineering and business talent from around the world,” the company said in a statement released on Saturday. “Given this new law, we will be forced to plan greater employment growth outside of our family state.”
Salesforce, a technology giant with 2,300 employees in Indiana, previously offered to relocate workers to states with abortion restrictions, although on Saturday it did not respond to a request for comment on Indiana’s law.
The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce also warned that the ban was passed too soon, and no matter what it would do to the state’s tourism industry.
“Such an accelerated legislative process – rushing to develop state policy on broad, complex issues – is detrimental to Hoosiers at best and reckless at worst,” the House said in a statement, asking: “Will the Indy region continue to attract tourism and congress investment? ? “
According to estimates by the local tourism industry, Indiana lost 12 conventions and an estimated $ 60 million in business after passing the Religious Freedom Act in 2015.
Indiana is the first state to ban lawmaking abortion since a June Supreme Court decision quashing the Roe v. Wade case. Other states enacted “liberating laws” that came into effect with the fall of Roe.
Indiana may only be the beginning. Supporters of abortion rights estimate that abortion can be severely restricted or banned in as many as half of the 50 states.
An official from Indiana Right to Life, an anti-abortion group in Indiana, said the new law would end 95 percent of abortions in Indiana and close all abortion clinics in Indiana on September 15, when the law goes into effect unless abortion activists go to court and obtain warrant earlier.
Indiana has been considering abortion restrictions for years, although it has remained a state where many people in the region traveled to care for an abortion. Now that many nearby states – including Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia – are also pushing for abortion bans, in some cases patients may be forced to travel hundreds of miles to obtain care, said Elizabeth Nash, a policy expert at the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion. laws. “Patients in Ohio will not be able to travel to Indiana for access. They may have to go to Illinois or Michigan, she said.
The middle of Indiana’s transition came just weeks after the nationwide attention shifted to a 10-year-old girl who was raped in Ohio, where abortion is banned after six weeks, and traveled to Indiana to terminate her pregnancy.
Caitlin Bernard, the doctor who performed the abortion in Indianapolis, tweeted on Saturday that she was “devastated” by the actions of the legislator. “How many girls and women will be hurt before they realize it needs to be reversed?” I will fight for them with every fiber of my being ”- she wrote.
The Indiana center was swiftly condemned by National Democrats who tried to dismiss Republicans as extreme on abortion – citing a vote earlier this week in Kansas, where even rural conservative parts of the state rejected a change to the state’s constitutional right to abortion.
The law is “another radical step by Republican lawmakers to take away women’s reproductive rights and freedoms,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
Democrats, however, hope to use what happened in Indiana to throw the entire Republican Party into extreme abortion.
“It has nothing to do with being pro-life,” California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) tweeted. “It’s about power and control.”
In Washington, Republican leaders were largely silent about the pressure of Republican-led states to ban abortion. Polls consistently show that near-total abortion bans, such as the one in Indiana, are unpopular with the general public.
So when Indiana’s Republicans ban abortion statewide, “they are in fact speaking for all Republicans,” said Martha McKenna, Democratic political strategist, “and so I hope November will be a good problem for Democrats.”
Another political strategist, Jonathan Levy, who worked on Kansans’ campaign for constitutional freedom that opposes restrictions on abortion rights, said the Kansas vote showed that extreme anti-abortion positions “will be rejected by Americans across the political spectrum. Americans want lawmakers to focus on how to keep food on the table, keep the economy afloat. They believe that the legislator’s priorities are broken, ”he said.
Along with the near-complete ban on abortion, Indiana’s Republicans passed legislation they believed was intended to support pregnant women and mothers, but critics pointed out that most of the money had been spent on supporting pregnancy-related crisis centers run by anti-abortion groups.
Providers and abortion counseling agencies have struggled to determine the full impact of the legislation.
Indiana University Health, the state’s primary healthcare provider, released a statement saying it was trying to figure out what the ban meant for its doctors and patients.
“It will take us the next few weeks to fully understand the terms of the new law and how to incorporate the changes into our medical practice to protect our suppliers and care for those seeking reproductive health,” the health care provider said in a statement.
Meanwhile, activists have started discussing plans to raise funds and provide transportation for abortion seekers after the ban goes into effect, said Carol McCord, a former Planned Parenthood employee.
“As it will soon become 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 abortion have already traveled out of the state, said Jessica Marchbank, who serves as state program manager at the All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center in Bloomington.
Democratic state legislators began developing response strategies on Saturday, including considering waiver measures and organizing voters to select legislators who advocate the right to abortion.
“This is a dark time for Indiana,” said state Senator Shelli Yoder, vice president of the Democrat Club. “The plan for the future is to make sure we come out in November and vote for people who supported something that only a small minority of Hoosiers wanted.”
Yoder said in an interview that she and like-minded lawmakers are considering taking immediate action that could undo the impact of the new law, noting that the legislature has not been formally deferred.
“We can go back and fix it,” she said, adding that policymakers are in the early stages of planning how to do this.
Katie Blair, a spokesman and director of public policy for the American Civil Liberties Union, Indiana, said Saturday that her organization would investigate legal action.
“You can guarantee that our legal team will work with partners to evaluate every available legal path to defend access to abortion in Indiana,” Blair said in a statement.
By signing the bill, Holcomb praised the work of lawmakers he called for a special session this summer to find a way to limit abortion, recognizing the differences of opinion among those opposing abortion.
“These actions followed long days of hearings filled with sobering and personal testimony from citizens and elected representatives on this emotional and complex subject,” the governor said in a statement. “Ultimately, these voices shaped and informed the final wording of the legislation and carefully negotiated exceptions to accommodate some of the unthinkable circumstances faced by women or the unborn child.”