HB 1217 puts pregnant people at risk and restricts access to safe and legal abortion
Indianapolis, IN — This afternoon, the Indiana Senate passed House Bill 1217 38-10, a redundant and unnecessary bill designed to stigmatize abortion care. Today’s vote sends the bill to Governor Holcomb’s desk to either sign into law or veto. This session the Indiana General Assembly has doubled down on discriminatory bills that continue to attack trans youth, pregnant people, and Black communities. Planned Parenthood condemns any legislation that discriminates, limits access to abortion care, and threatens the health and lives of the people of Indiana. We call on Gov. Holcomb to veto HB 1217 immediately.
HB 1217 is part of a coordinated attack to end abortion rights in Indiana outright, using thinly-veiled excuses to make reproductive care less accessible. Anti-abortion laws like HB 1217 that single out abortion miss the broader issue of intimate partner violence, which is the root of coercion. The most common form of reproductive coercion is when a person forces their partner to become pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term. For example, many women are survivors of birth control sabotage where a partner tampers with their contraceptives; in a 2020 study, one in six women reported having experienced birth control sabotage.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider intimate partner violence, or IPV, a serious public health problem. Pregnant people, particularly those with an unintended pregnancy, are more vulnerable to IPV than those who aren’t pregnant. Restricting access to abortion puts pregnant people at an even greater risk of experiencing IPV because being denied a wanted abortion could force people to stay in a relationship with an abusive partner. Growing evidence shows the pandemic has made intimate partner violence more common—and often more severe. Ultimately, HB 1217 could increase intimate partner violence and reproductive coercion, not reduce it.
Statement from Lisa Humes-Schulz, Vice President of Policy & Regulatory Affairs for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates (PPAA):
“Gov. Holcomb must recognize that HB 1217 is part of a coordinated assault to end access to abortion in Indiana outright. The only way to safeguard against reproductive coercion is to allow people to make their own decisions about their own bodies,” said Lisa Humes-Schulz, Vice President of Policy & Regulatory Affairs for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates. “House Bill 1217 does nothing to meaningfully address intimate partner violence, sexual violence, or reproductive coercion. Instead, it jeopardizes patient safety and access to time-sensitive health care. We call upon Gov. Holcomb to stop this dangerous bill and protect the people of Indiana by vetoing HB 1217 immediately.”
Despite widespread support for the full range of reproductive health care options — including abortion — anti-abortion legislators have pledged to push Gov. Holcomb to hold a special session after the Supreme Court issues its decision revisiting the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling this summer. The constitutional right to abortion is at risk like never before, and we know Indiana lawmakers will be back the minute they have a chance to ban abortion entirely. We are at a crisis point, and this is the moment for every elected leader who cares about health care to speak out and fight back.
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.