INDIANAPOLIS — Some doctors, nurse practitioners, and medical students hope to halt any new restrictions on abortion in Indiana. They are worried what legislation may be passed by state lawmakers after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling later this summer, which is expected to overturn Roe v. Wade. They brought their concerns to Governor Eric Holcomb's office Thursday morning.
The health care providers say they requested a meeting with the governor about abortion more than a month ago, but had to settle for dropping off two letters signed by about 400 physicians, nurse practitioners and medical students.
"We want him to know that health care providers across the state care about this issue, that they do not want him to hold a special session following a Supreme Court decision, and that we want him to help protect abortion access in the state," said Dr. Alison Case, an abortion provider who is part of the Reproductive Health Access Project.
The U.S. Supreme Court will issue the final ruling on a Mississippi case in late June or early July. A leaked draft indicates the ruling will reverse 50 years of abortion legal precedent in the United States.
"We will see bad outcomes in our state," Case said. "So we worry about increased morbidity, maternal mortality, infant mortality if someone is forced to carry a pregnancy to term. The people who are going to be most impacted by a ban on abortion in the state are the most vulnerable — so low-income people, Black and Indigenous people, LGBTQ populations. So, we really worry that people who are already vulnerable are going to have decreased access to care."
Case and four other women in white medical coats delivered two letters to the governor's office: one signed by health care providers, the other signed by medical students. The letter from medical students suggests abortion restrictions will add to the shortage of health care providers in the state.
"We always have a health care provider shortage here in Indiana," said Rayanne Pancoast, a fourth-year medical student. "We're always worried about that. So, pushing further restrictions would ultimately probably cause that shortage to increase. So my letter was geared towards that, and preventing further shortages. That way, providers are incentivized to stay here in Indiana."
More than100 Indiana Republican lawmakers have asked for a special session. Some pro-life advocates are hoping for a total abortion ban in the state.
"The advocates for life say that there are a lot of babies out there that might be preserved or saved in the event that we do this quick, sooner rather than later," said Indiana Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville, during the legislation correction day May 24.
Holcomb is withholding comment until he reviews the Supreme Court ruling. But his press secretary said the governor is "absolutely considering" a special session for abortion legislation.