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Clinics raise concerns about impact of abortion legislation on low-income Hoosiers

As Indiana lawmakers debate their proposed abortion ban, clinics, care centers and the women they serve are growing nervous across Indiana.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Lawmakers voted Friday in favor of a companion bill to Senate Bill 1 that would create a fund to support women and children.

The Hoosier Families First Fund would send $45 million to those women and children in need, but Democrats say the money isn't enough to help all of the additional children who would be born if there is an abortion ban in the state. 

Jessica Marchbank at the All Options Pregnancy Resource Center in Bloomington said low-income Hoosiers will feel the biggest impact of a ban.

"There are a lot of scared people out there. And some of the stories that I hear break my heart but they also reaffirm how important this is. It's vital," Marchbank said.

As Indiana lawmakers debate their proposed abortion ban, clinics, care centers and the women they serve are growing nervous across Indiana.

Nationwide, half of the people who seek an abortion live below the poverty level, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Seventy-five percent are poor or low-income and 60% of those who seek an abortion are already mothers. 

RELATED: Senate vote on abortion ban bill expected Saturday

Marchbank said many of the women they see or speak with often struggle to afford day care or diapers, reaching out to All Options because they need help or simply cannot afford another child. 

"It also then forces them to face, 'How can I have another baby when I cannot afford the children I have now?'" Marchbank said. 

Now, some Indiana clinics worry they may have to close up shop or cut off some of the support they currently offer women - and they're not alone.

A month after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, at least 43 clinics across 11 states have shut their doors. That will leave Hoosiers with fewer choices of where to go as they travel out of state to seek abortion care. 

Even then, not everyone can afford the trip. 

"I think there's a significant portion of our population that will never be able to access abortion care if these bans take place," Marchbank said. "So the marginalized people will continue to be marginalized and even more so because the cycle of poverty will just continue."

RELATED: 'Sheer grief' | Hoosiers seek out-of-state abortions

Over the past few weeks, All Options has been flooded with demand from women seeking help.

“We’re seeing a staggering number of people calling us from Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky. We’ve even had calls from Oklahoma and Texas, states that have already enacted more restrictions," Marchbank said. "So right now, they’re coming into Indiana because we haven’t enacted more restrictions, I do worry what is going to happen for reproductive health care."

If Indiana does ban abortion, she said All Options will continue to help pregnant people wherever and however they can.

"We are not going anywhere," Marchbank said. "We believe that people know what is best for them and we're here to support Hoosiers and all of their options and needs."

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