By Gabriella Borter
(Reuters) – Indiana lawmakers on Friday prepared to hold a final vote on a bill that would ban all abortions except in cases of rape, incest or medical emergencies, legislation limiting access to abortion in the Midwestern state. would be drastically reduced if approved.
The measure, passed Friday by the Indiana House of Representatives and awaiting Senate approval, would make Indiana the first state to pass legislation to severely restrict abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
If approved by the Republican-led Senate, it would move to the office of Republican Governor Eric Holcomb for signature.
The Indiana state legislature introduced the bill this summer in a special session that lawmakers convened after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June allowed states to pass and enforce laws banning abortion.
West Virginia is likely days away from an almost complete abortion ban, and some 10 other Republican-led states have already enacted near-total bans that were on the books before the decision to overthrow Roe.
Indiana currently allows abortion up to 22 weeks after the last menstrual period, with several additional restrictions.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates-East staged a protest at the state house Friday night to oppose the likely Senate approval of the measure.
Earlier in the day, dozens of abortion rights advocates protested in the Capitol, chanting “Shame on you!” while House members passed the bill, according to a video posted on Twitter.
“SB 1 is a vicious and dangerous attack on liberty and liberty. We will not stop fighting until everyone has access to the abortion care they need without the intervention of politicians,” the Indiana ACLU wrote on Twitter.
The legislation aims to end the licensing of abortion clinics and prohibit abortion in almost all cases. It would only make exceptions for abortion “to avoid any serious health risk to the pregnant woman or to save the pregnant woman’s life”, in cases of fatal fetal abnormalities, or in cases of rape or incest.
(Reporting by Gabriella Borter; editing by Diane Craft)