The Biden Administration criticized Indiana’s new abortion ban Saturday after the state became the first in the U.S. to approve new abortion restrictions since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
In a statement from the White House, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the Indiana legislature’s move a “devastating step,” and a “radical step by Republican legislators to take away women’s reproductive rights and freedom, and put personal health care decisions in the hands of politicians rather than women and their doctors.”
The statement also asserts that Biden is committed to action that protects reproductive rights and accessible care that’s afforded by federal law.
The new law, which was passed by the Indiana House and Senate on Friday, bans most abortions in the state, but allows for exceptions in cases of rape and incest before 10 weeks post-fertilization, as well as when a mother’s life is at-risk, and in instances of life-threatening fetal anomalies. The law will be in effect starting Sept. 15. The bill was opposed by all 11 Indiana Democratic Senators.
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New legislation prohibits all types of abortion except in hospitals and outpatient centers that are owned or controlled by hospitals. It also bans the practice of abortions at abortion clinics. According to the bill, doctors who perform illegal abortions or don’t fulfill all required paperwork will lose their medical licenses.
The current law in Indiana allows for abortions up to 22 weeks after a woman’s last menstrual period or 20 weeks after fertilization.
After the Indiana ban had been announced hours earlier, Biden tweeted, “This week, I signed an executive order to make sure health care providers comply with federal law, so women don’t face delays or denials of medically necessary care. It builds on the first one I signed last month that will also help safeguard access to health care.”’
Biden signed on July 8 an executive order to ensure access to emergency contraception and abortion medications. Biden also signed a Wednesday executive order that aimed to facilitate travel for abortion treatment, particularly for low-income women.
The Indiana ban comes just weeks after a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio made national headlines for traveling to Indiana to get an abortion, due to Ohio’s “fetal heartbeat” law. Biden was also there to emphasize the importance of protecting access to abortion.
“She was forced to have to travel out of the state to Indiana to seek to terminate the pregnancy and maybe save her life,” Biden said in a speech at the White House. “Ten years old — 10 years old! — raped, six weeks pregnant, already traumatized, was forced to travel to another state.”
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A few days after the Indiana ban was condemned, Kansas voters, who make up a Republican majority won a referendum on their ballot to preserve abortion rights. Kansas will be a destination that women from neighboring states can access to have abortions in the future. Indiana joins Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas as the only state with restricted abortion access in this region.
This year the Democratic Party has emphasized abortion, which will probably play into the midterm election. The top issue that concerns voters is abortion. Biden will remain a pivotal figure in the fight to defend abortion rights, with more states likely to ban it in the next weeks and months.
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