Indiana women plan to gather to rally for rights 

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Before the ink was even dry on the governor's signature, women around Indiana began to express their shock and dismay with HEA 1337. The wave of consternation has continued over the last few weeks reaching around the state and the country as women voice their anger and disgust with the bill.

A group of women has organized a rally to be held on the south lawn of the Indiana Statehouse April 9 at 1 p.m. Simply titled, "A Rally for Women's Rights," the rally is designed to bring together women and the men who support them who all believe that women should have the right to decide what to do with their bodies without government intrusion.

"Once again, [Gov. Mike] Pence has put his ideology over the best interests of his constituents," says Annette Gross, one of three women organizing Saturday's rally. "Contrary to his statements, HB1337 will cause immense harm to women and their unborn fetuses. Therefore, we want to give women and their allies a space to come together to hear speakers who share their sentiments."

A lot of women from a variety of interests are scheduled to speak, including Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky president and CEO Betty Cockrum and former Indiana State Senator Vi Simpson. The event will also include a reading of all 97 legislators who voted in favor of the legislation.

RELATED: A list of every legislator that voted yes to HEA1337

"The choice to carry a child belongs to the woman," says the Rev. Marie Siroky, another one of the rally organizers. "As a hospital chaplain and a minister I am morally and ethically obligated to respect the autonomy of my patients and their faith beliefs. The Indiana Legislature has redefined medical terms and procedures with no public discussion and also against established medical standards based on narrow religious beliefs."

The legislation has been criticized not only for its content, but also because of how it was passed by the Legislature. The original bill, authored by Rep. Casey Cox (R-Fort Wayne), dealt with the final disposition of remains. A Senate committee added language from SB 313 to Cox's bill regarding the limitations to abortion based on the race, color, national origin, ancestry, and diagnosis or potential diagnosis of a disability of the fetus along a host of other provisions. Sens. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) and Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne) authored SB 313. The additions were added and passed without debate in a conference committee or any other debate in the House. That caused several Republicans — including some who are typically anti-choice — to vote against the measure.

"Incredibly Brian Bosma allowed no testimony from the medical community, public, clergy, all who stand opposed to this bill," says Siroky, who is a clergy member with the United Church of Christ. "There is nothing holy, nor medically accurate in the wording of this bill. These regulations on a legal medical procedure — by the way no other procedure is so regulated — will increase suffering and death, as well as shame women and the physicians who tend to their patients."

RELATED: Indiana's new abortion law and its terrible toll on women's rights

So far nearly 3,000 have signed up to attend with over 6,000 people showing an interest in the event according to the Facebook event page. Women and allies from all over the state are planning to attend. A satellite event will be held at the same time (noon CDT) at the LaPorte County Courthouse for anyone who can't travel to Indianapolis.

"I wanted to do this rally for a few different reasons," says Satchuel Cole, the third organizer for the rally. "The first being that I wanted to bring awareness to the horrid laws they are passing. Second, to educate and encourage more people to register and vote. The only way we can change the laws that are being made and make Indiana a progressive state and not an oppressive state is to change who is making the laws. Vote. Vote. Vote."



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Amber Stearns

Amber Stearns

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Amber Stearns was born, raised, and educated right here in Indianapolis. She holds a B.S. in Communications from the University of Indianapolis (1995). Following a 20-year career in radio news in Indiana, Amber joined NUVO as News Editor in 2014.

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