By Gabriela Borter
(Reuters) – Indiana lawmakers prepared on Friday for a final vote on a bill that would ban all abortions except in cases of rape, incest or a medical emergency, legislation that would slash abortion access in the state of midwest if approved.
The measure, which passed the Indiana House of Representatives on Friday and was awaiting approval from the Senate, would make Indiana the first state to pass legislation to drastically restrict abortion since the US Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.
If approved by the Republican-led Senate, it would go to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk for his signature.
The Indiana state legislature introduced the bill during a special session this summer, which lawmakers called after the US Supreme Court’s June decision empowered states to pass and enforce laws banning abortion. .
West Virginia is likely days away from passing a near-total ban on abortion, and 10 other Republican-led states have already implemented near-total bans that were on the books before the decision to overturn Roe.
Indiana currently allows abortion up to 22 weeks after the last menstrual period, with several additional restrictions.
The Indiana American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates-East were staging a protest at the statehouse Friday night to oppose the measure’s likely passage by the Senate.
Hours earlier, dozens of abortion rights advocates protested on Capitol Hill, chanting “Shame on you!” when House members approved the bill, according to a video posted on Twitter.
“SB 1 is a cruel and dangerous attack on freedom. We will not stop fighting until everyone can access the abortion care they need without politicians interfering,” the ACLU of Indiana wrote on Twitter.
The legislation seeks to end the licensing of abortion clinics and ban abortion in almost all cases. It would make exceptions for abortion only “to prevent any serious risk to the health of the pregnant woman or to save the life of the pregnant woman,” in cases of fatal fetal anomalies, or in cases of rape or incest.
(Reporting by Gabriella Borter; editing by Diane Craft)