Indianapolis, IN — This week, on the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, reproductive rights and access in Indiana are under attack like never before. At the national level, our constitutional right to abortion has never been at greater risk, and the days of legal abortion in every state may be numbered. Emboldened by these national signals, Indiana legislators have doubled down on their efforts to make sure that abortion access is banned completely, filing four anti-abortion bills just this month.
Indiana Republican legislators made it clear today that a special session to ban abortion would be called this summer by Governor Holcomb, despite making the decision to halt movement on Senate Bill 309, which would require the General Assembly convene in the case the U.S. Supreme Court overrules or dismantles Roe v. Wade, likely in June. In no way do these recent remarks indicate the legislature is slowing down its attempts to restrict care. As early as next week, House Bill 1217 could be brought to the floor for a vote. The requirements in HB 1217, a so-called “abortion coercion bill,” are redundant and unnecessary, designed to stigmatize abortion care and limit patients’ ability to get the care they need. Many public health professionals oppose these types of abortion laws because anti-coercion policies that single out abortion sidestep the broader issue of domestic and sexual violence, which is the root of coercion. This bill is just another attempt in a long line of targeted restrictions intended to eliminate access to abortion in Indiana.
Indiana has already passed more abortion laws than most states in the country, and these latest restrictions are out of step with what the people of Indiana want from their elected leaders. The majority of Indiana voters support access to all reproductive health care options, including abortion.
Statement from Jennifer M. Allen, CEO for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates (PPAA):
“This is the anniversary of the most basic abortion rights protections provided nationwide under the Roe v. Wade decision 49 years ago. This day is a stark reminder of how laser focused the Indiana Republican legislative majority has been to take away abortion access and rights, despite the fact that a majority of people in Indiana want access to abortion to remain safe and legal,” said Jennifer M. Allen, CEO for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates.
“Let's be clear, the decision by the Indiana Republican majority not to push SB 309, a bill that would have mandated a special session if Roe is dismantled, only shows just how confident these anti-abortion extremists are in the newly politicized Supreme Court and their anti-abortion governor. The Roe decision is in peril and we know Indiana lawmakers will be back the minute they have a chance to ban abortion entirely. Make no mistake, we are at a crisis point, and this is the moment for every elected leader who cares about health care, and all of us individually, to stand up, speak out, and fight back.”
In December, at oral arguments in a case on a Mississippi abortion ban, it seemed possible that a majority of Supreme Court justices are prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade, which established the constitutional right to abortion. Thirty-six million women — nearly half of the women of reproductive age in the United States — including 1.5 million women in Indiana, and more people who can become pregnant, could lose abortion access. If Indiana were to institute a total abortion ban, experts predict we would see a 21 percent increase the number of pregnancy-related deaths and a 33 percent increase among Black women. Abortion restrictions disproportionately harm Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities, people in rural communities, LGBTQ+ people, and people struggling to make ends meet.
Right now, abortion is still safe and legal in Indiana, even with the state restrictions that are in place. While Planned Parenthood’s ability to provide safe and legal abortion hasn’t changed today, we’re prepared for future threats to abortion access. Planned Parenthood will never stop fighting for the freedom and power for the people of Indiana to make their own decisions about their bodies, their lives, and their futures.
Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, Serving AK, HI, ID, IN, KY, WA (PPAA) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization educating residents and policymakers about reproductive health issues in Alaska, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky and Washington. PPAA lobbies and educates to advance Planned Parenthood's mission, and engages in limited electoral activities.