Indiana’s near-total ban is the first enacted since the overturning of Roe v. wade
The White House on Saturday described a new ban on nearly all abortions in Indiana as “devastating,” and called on Congress to make abortion access a legal right nationwide.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed the ban on Friday, after it passed both houses of the Republican-controlled state legislature. The law, which comes into force on September 15, prohibits all abortions except in cases of rape and incest, where the mother’s life is in danger, or if an unborn baby is diagnosed with a life-threatening abnormality.
Hospitals will be the only places allowed to perform the procedures, meaning all seven abortion clinics in the state will be closed. Doctors who perform illegal abortions will lose their medical license.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the passage of the law a “devastating step” and “Another sweeping step by Republican lawmakers to suppress women’s reproductive rights and freedom.”
“Yesterday’s vote, which establishes a near total ban on abortion in Indiana, should be a signal for Americans across the country to make their voices heard,” he added. Jean-Pierre continues. “Congress should also act immediately to pass legislation restoring Roe’s protections – the only way to guarantee a woman’s right to choose nationally,” she concludes.
Congress has never passed a law authorizing abortion, and states have historically set their own policies on the issue. This situation changed in 1973 when the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that the constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy covered a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy.
Combined with later case law, Roe v. Wade allowed abortions to be performed without “excessive burden” a legal norm that proponents and opponents of abortion fought hard over until the Supreme Court overturned the decision in June, returning the abortion law to the state level. Writing the majority opinion, Judge Samuel Alito argued that Roe v. Wade rested on a “grossly false” and “exceptionally low” interpretation of the Constitution.
Indiana’s new legislation is the first post-Roe abortion ban to be approved by a state legislature and become law. West Virginia lawmakers opted to delay passage of a similar bill last month, while Kansas voters last week opted out of removing the right to abortion from the US Constitution. ‘State.
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Some 13 U.S. states had so-called “trigger bans” on their books, meaning most abortions instantly became illegal, or a countdown was started to illegality, by the time Roe v. Wade was canceled. As a result, abortion is now banned in all cases without exception in ten states, while two more – Idaho and the aforementioned Indiana – will soon impose equally sweeping bans. Three other states have bans in place after six weeks of pregnancy, while Florida has banned the procedure after 15 weeks. All of these bans and restrictions have been challenged by pro-abortion activists.
Jean-Pierre’s appeal to Congress will probably remain a dead letter. An attempt to codify and extend the protections of Roe v. Wade in the bill failed in May, and even if the 50 Senate Democrats were united in backing such a bill, they would still fall short of the 60-vote majority needed to overcome the unanimous opposition of the 50 Republicans in the upper room.
President Joe Biden has said he would support ending the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster rule just to pass this legislation.