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Lawmakers discuss upcoming special session, future of abortion in Indiana

The Republican supermajority in the state legislature is expected to pass some sort of abortion ban during this special session.

INDIANAPOLIS — This past March, 100 Republican state lawmakers signed a letter sent to Gov. Eric Holcomb, asking for a special session if abortion rights were overturned by the US Supreme Court.  

That day is here, and so is that special session on July 6.   

The Republican supermajority in the legislature is expected to pass some sort of abortion ban during the session. Insiders within the party tell 13News if there are any exceptions to that ban, they would be very few. 

Those exceptions could include pregnancies in cases of rape, incest or where the mother’s life is in danger. 

“Human life begins at conception,” said Rep. John Jacob, R-District 93, a born-again Christian who said religious beliefs aside, biology also supports that belief. 

That’s why Jacob said the only legislation he’s willing to support is a total ban of all abortions in Indiana with no exceptions. 

“Abortion, since it takes the life of an innocent little pre-born human being, that would always be murder and so therefore, rape, incest, life of the mother, those exceptions would not be acceptable,” Jacob said, adding that he supported the protection at conception bill authored by Rep. Curt Nisly, R-District 22.   

The proposed law would have banned all abortions in Indiana, with no exceptions. 

RELATED: Abortion numbers up as Indiana lawmakers consider further restrictions

“The Republican caucus has made sure that his bill died in committee for the last six years, and regardless of what everybody else’s ideology is, the Republican Party claims to be the pro-life platform, and yet here is the most pro-life bill that Indiana has ever seen, and yet the Republican caucus has killed that bill in committee for the last six years,” said Jacob. “I think that’s deplorable." 

Jacob, the father of three daughters, said he would not support abortions, even in cases of rape, even if one of his own daughters was a victim. 

“I’m consistent in my beliefs. It would be horrific if one of our daughters was raped, but I do not believe that the problem is solved by murdering the child. The child is an innocent bystander in all of this,” said Jacob. “The man committed the crime. The man is the one that should be prosecuted for the crime.”

Right now, abortion is still legal in Indiana, but there are limits. Surgical abortions are banned after 22 weeks, with some exceptions for later if the mother’s life is in danger.

RELATED: Hoosiers flood downtown Indy for protests, rallies over abortion ruling

State law requires two appointments and an 18-hour waiting period before one can get an abortion, and doctors must share alternatives to the procedure before it can happen. 

Abortions through medication can only happen before a pregnancy reaches 10 weeks, the medication must come from a doctor and the pills must be taken in front of a doctor. 

Most minors in Indiana need parental consent to get an abortion. 

“They have the supermajority, but we still have a voice,” said Democratic Rep. Cherrish Pryor, D-District 94. “Regardless of what they do, what they put up, we still have responsibility to our constituents and to the vast majority of Hoosiers to stand up and make the case and make the point we are overreaching.

“We are overreaching, telling women what they can do with their bodies and controlling what women can do and trying to be the doctor for women. That is not our responsibility,” Pryor added. 

Even if with the expectation that Republicans will pass some sort of abortion ban, Pryor said it’s unclear what, if any, exceptions might be made. 

“It’s going to be quite interesting to see whose voice is the loudest and who wins that debate in their caucus,” Pryor said. “It’s troubling for me as a woman that we have all these men in the legislature that are going to have a say in what happens to my body. That’s not a decision 150 people should be making.” 

Holcomb has said he’s pro-life and called the special session "an opportunity to make progress in protecting the sanctity of life."

What exceptions that could include, if any, remains to be seen. 

Rokita asks courts to lift injunctions on multiple abortion laws

On Monday, Indiana's attorney general asked the courts to lift injunctions against several Indiana abortion laws.

“Like most Hoosiers, I believe in building a culture of life in Indiana,” Todd Rokita said. “That means protecting the lives of unborn babies and safeguarding the physical, mental and emotional well-being of their mothers. I’ll do everything in my power to advance this mission.” 

According to Rokita's office, the laws include: 

  • A ban on discriminatory abortions sought specifically because of the unborn child’s race, sex, or disability.
  • A ban on dismemberment abortions, in which living unborn children are dismembered piece by piece.
  • A requirement that parents be notified when a court approves an abortion for a minor child without parental consent (barring extenuating circumstances such as reason to believe such notification could endanger the child).

“Indiana has a long history of defending life,” Rokita said, “and the Supreme Court has recognized these contributions. Indeed, the Dobbs decision expressly cited multiple Indiana cases, such as our battles to outlaw discriminatory abortion and require respectful disposition of the bodies of aborted babies.“

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