Indiana Republicans move to ban abortions
On their first week back at work, Republicans in the Indiana General Assembly wasted no time introducing the issues and proposed bills they hope will dominate the upcoming election season, and at the top of the list is making abortions illegal in the state of Indiana and eventually seeing the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
Rep. Troy Woodruff (R) has introduced House Bill 1096, which declares that human life begins when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm, and "[m]akes performing any abortion that is not necessary to prevent a substantial permanent impairment of the life or physical health of the pregnant woman a Class C felony."
Women's rights advocates were quick to respond.
"Less than 24 hours after Speaker of the House Brian Bosma promised to uphold the law of the land [by upholding the ruling on Statehouse prayer], we face HB 1096, which mocks both the U.S. and Indiana constitutions," said Michael McKillip, Planned Parenthood of Indiana director of public policy and legislative affairs.
Republicans admit the bill was introduced in part because a state must pass a law and then appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court to see if Roe v. Wade - the 1973 Supreme Court case that effectively barred state abortion bans - would be overturned. An Indiana law banning most abortions will probably be challenged in the courts and could end up as a test case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Woodruff said the issue should have been left up to the states, and he's hoping a newly constituted Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Roberts and with the possible addition of Samuel Alito, will decide the abortion issue differently than the 1973 court did.
"It's an emotional issue," Woodruff said. "It's something I've prayed about, and it's weighed on my heart."
When Woodruff is not serving in the Indiana state Legislature, he works for U.S. Rep. John N. Hostettler (R-Ind.), who is a national leader in the effort to criminalize abortion.
"Without question, the Supreme Court removed the conviction that life is a gift from God. Thirty years of calculated killing of the most defenseless should cause us all to tremble," according to Hostettler.