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House plans 1 day of public testimony for abortion ban bill

The public can sign up to speak at the House hearing online starting at midnight, or in person Tuesday morning at the Statehouse.

INDIANAPOLIS — On Monday, the Indiana House of Representatives assigned the proposed abortion ban bill to the Courts and Criminal Code committee. 

Speaker of the House Todd Huston, R-Fishers, signaled the plan was to give one day of public testimony.

“We'll have a full day of testimony (Tuesday) and then we're going to move forward,” Huston said. “Well, I think again, there are opportunities to provide written testimonies and this is a topic that's been talked about for a long time including over there in the Senate and, at some point, you have to continue to move forward the process."

The bill’s House Sponsor Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Evansville, is the chair of the Courts and Criminal Code committee. She’s one of six women on the committee. While some question why it wasn’t sent to Public Health, the committee does include multiple women, unlike the Senate’s Rules and Legislative Procedure committee, which only had two.

On Tuesday, the committee is expected to meet from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the House convening at 5:30 p.m. McNamara said she thinks the bill needs to be improved, but hasn’t stated what changes she would like to see. It’s also unclear if the bill will be amended in committee or on the House floor during second reading.

Credit: WTHR
House Speaker Todd Huston, R-Fishers

The bill currently eliminates elective abortions with exceptions only to save the life of the mother and for victims of rape or incest. Victims will have to get an affidavit signed and notarized if they would like to receive an abortion. Pregnant people 16 and older will have up to eight weeks to decide if they want an abortion, while children 15 and younger will receive 12 weeks to decide.

13News asked McNamara if she believed a woman should face criminal penalties if she lied about being the victim of rape or incest to receive an abortion.

Credit: WTHR
Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Evansville

“That topic is definitely up for discussion and one that I would say is pretty contentious,” she said.

Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, suggested the House should kill the bill on arrival. He cited Rule 116 and called for the bill to be rejected before it was assigned to committee. He suggested the legislature address it again during next year’s session.

"There are some bills that are just such bad public policy and not ready for primetime it just doesn't make sense to continue with them and assign them to a committee,” he said.

Pierce's motion failed 63-25 along party lines.

The public can sign up online on the committee's website, starting at midnight. Those who sign up online must also check in in person at 8 a.m., the same time when people can sign up to speak in person.

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