During a special weekend session Saturday, the Indiana state Senate passed a bill with a near-total ban on abortion.
The lawmakers voted 26-20 to pass the bill, known as SB-1, with no Democrat voting in favor, according to The Associated Press. With 10 Republicans joining Democrats in voting against, the bill passed the minimum threshold for sending it to the House, the AP reported.
The vote makes Indiana set to become one of the first states to impose fresh restrictions on abortion after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in late June, the AP reported.
According to the AP, should the bill be signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb, abortions would be illegal from the time of conception.
The only exceptions to the rule are cases of pregnancy through rape and incest or situations where the mother’s life is threatened, the news service reported.
In cases of rape and incest, meeting the exceptions would require patients to sign a notarized affidavit attesting to the circumstances, the AP reported.
Although the bill received support from most Republicans in the state Senate, some conservative lawmakers dissented.
Sen. Mike Young, a Republican who had introduced a failed amendment that would have ruled out exceptions in cases where abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother, said he “voted against the bill not because he agrees with its opponents but because he has qualms with some aspects of the legislation he hopes are addressed,” the AP reported.
For instance, according to the AP, Young said the bill would allow doctors to perform abortions to save the life of the mother, but “doesn’t require the doctor to inform that woman that her life is in danger,” according to AP.
“She may never know the reasons why. I just think it’s important when a person makes the most important decision of their life they ought to know if their life is in danger, and what are the reasons why it’s in danger,” he said.
Prior to the vote, according to The Associated Press, Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates Indiana member Nicole Erwin said she expected it to pass because pro-life groups have been “waiting for this moment for far too long.”
Indiana’s legislature has a history of pro-life votes.
“We’ve seen time and again we can only expect their worst, which means passing an outright ban on abortion,” Erwin said.
She also said she expects the bill to be passed in the state House, the AP reported.
Republican lawmakers advanced the bill in the state Senate on Tuesday. The deliberations over the bill revealed some of the divisions within the Republican Party on how to deal with the issue.
Republican state Senate Majority Leader Mark Messmer, who voted against advancing the bill on Tuesday, said “threading the perfect needle” on the issue” was a “near impossibility,” The Associated Press reported.
Holcomb had initially called for the special legislative session to discuss a tax rebate plan, the news service reported.
On Thursday, state senators rejected 28-18 an amendment that would have removed the rape and incest exception from the bill, according to WRTV-TV.
“This is not an easy bill,” Republican state Sen. Susan Glick — the bill’s author — told WRTV-TV. “It’s always emotional when you’re talking about these types of issues, the most intimate issues.”
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