Home NEWS With Roe Gone, Republicans Quarrel Over How Far to Push Abortion Bans-EnglishHindiBlogs-News

With Roe Gone, Republicans Quarrel Over How Far to Push Abortion Bans-EnglishHindiBlogs-News

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INDIANAPOLIS — Opponents of abortion, especially in conservative states, had hoped to pass a new wave of restrictions soon after Roe v. Wade was quashed. But until now, most Republican lawmakers have acted cautiously or have done nothing at all, even in capital cities where they have overwhelming majority.

A debate taking place this week in Indiana shows why.

While Republican lawmakers support the broad idea of ​​restricting abortion, they have conflicting views on how far to go. Should there be an absolute ban? If so, should there be exceptions for rape and incest? And what if a woman’s health is threatened by a pregnancy, but doctors don’t believe she will die?

“Those are all questions that are very difficult,” said Senator Rodric Bray, an Indiana Republican whose caucus, which has long worked to limit abortions, is divided over a bill that would ban abortion with few exceptions. Before Roe was overthrown this year, Mr. Bray, lawmakers hadn’t spent “enough time on those issues because you knew it was an issue that you didn’t really have to get into at the granular level. But we’re here now, and we recognize that this is pretty hard work. ”

Similar conversations are taking place across the country.

Unlike conservative states that passed a ban on abortion years ago, when it remained a federal right, Republicans considering the issue today are not ruling in hypothetical considerations. They are grappling with thorny questions about exceptions, nuanced internal-party disagreements and mixed public opinion during an election season in which abortion has become a defining topic. Recent high-profile cases, such as that of a 10-year-old sexual assault victim from Ohio who traveled to Indiana to have an abortion due to new restrictions in her home state, have highlighted where the debate is at stake.

Leaders in many Republican-led states seem to be bidding their time. An exception is West Virginia, where lawmakers this week filed an almost complete ban after a court blocked enforcement of an 1849 abortion ban in that state.

But in Nebraska, where an attempt to pass a trigger ban failed early this year, Governor Pete Ricketts discussed the possibility of a special session, but has not yet convened one. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis has largely avoided questions about whether he would take immediate steps to enact new restrictions. In South Dakota, where a ban went into effect after Roe was taken down, Governor Kristi Noem reneged on an initial promise to call lawmakers to the Capitol to consider more abortion laws. And in Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds has said she was aiming to get the courts to allow enforcement of existing restrictions that had been blocked.

“At this point, it wouldn’t make sense to call a special session,” said Ms. Reynolds, a Republican. told local reporters last month.

In Indiana, at least in theory, an abortion ban should have been simple. Lawmakers there have passed sweeping abortion restrictions in recent years. Republicans hold a large majority in both houses of the General Assembly. And Governor Eric Holcomb, a Republican who was once Mike Pence’s lieutenant governor, said on the day Roe fell that he wanted lawmakers to consider new limits.

“We have an opportunity to make progress in protecting the sanctity of life,” Mr Holcomb said at the time, “and that is exactly what we will do.”

But in practice, getting Republicans to agree on a bill is filled with disagreement. The special session, initially scheduled for early July, did not begin until this week. Even before they met, some Republican lawmakers disagreed with their party’s approach. And when some Republicans introduced legislation calling for an abortion ban with limited exceptions, it managed to disappoint almost everyone, not just the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, which called it a “cruel, dangerous bill,” as well as Indiana Right to Life, which described it as: “weak and disturbing.”

“This particular legislation, probably the best analogy I can say, is Swiss cheese — there are so many holes,” said Jodi Smith, speaking on behalf of Indiana Right to Life, who noted during testimony before lawmakers this week that several Republicans of the Senate sought the approval of that group.

The current draft of the bill, which is subject to change, would ban abortions except when a pregnant woman’s life was at stake, or when a woman signed an affidavit early in her pregnancy stating that she was a victim of rape or incest.

During two days of public testimony, no one expressed support for the bill. When it came to a vote in a Senate committee on Tuesday, it narrowly moved forward, with one Republican and all Democrats voting against, and several Republicans voting in favor expressing serious concerns.

Senator Ed Charbonneau, who was one of the yes votes, said, “I think my wish is that we make a bad bill less bad.” Senator Eric Bassler, who also voted to advance the legislation, said “there are many reasons not to support this bill at many different levels” and warned he could vote against it in the full Senate. Even Senator Sue Glick, the bill’s sponsor, said she was “not exactly” happy with the measure when it went to the Senate floor, where votes will go on Friday.

“If it’s the will of the body to kill the beak on the ground, so be it, but it’s a start,” Mrs. Glick said.

The broad outlines of the abortion debate remain well defined. Large groups of protesters from both sides of the issue have gathered at the Indiana Statehouse this week. Loud, competing chants of “We won’t stop at Roe” and “My body, my choice” reverberated throughout the building’s hallways at various points, making it sometimes difficult to hear testimonies during the hearing.

But even in a state where Democrats have little political power, Indiana’s Republican leaders are in a political bind. Some Republican lawmakers, and many of the party’s most vocal supporters, want to ban abortion with few, if any, exceptions. But a Republican senator, Kyle Walker, said he wanted abortion to remain legal during the first trimester of pregnancy. And many in the party have raised questions about whether and how exceptions should be included for rape, incest and a pregnant woman’s health.

“This is one of the most complex problems any of us will ever try to tackle in our lives, and it just goes to show that it’s nearly impossible to thread the perfect needle,” said Republican state senator Mark Messmer. who voted against. the measure in committee.

Complicating matters at a time when many lawmakers are campaigning for reelection is uncertainty about what voters believe about abortion. In Indiana, abortion opponents and abortion rights advocates both claim that public opinion approves of their position, but at least one recent opinion poll suggests a more complex, murky picture.

During marathon public comment sessions, several women told lawmakers to continue to allow access to abortions, share personal stories, and several doctors spoke out against the bill, warning it would have dire consequences for women in Indiana. Abortion is currently legal in Indiana until 22 weeks of pregnancy.

“A ban on abortion poses a threat to the health and well-being of Indiana’s youth,” said Dr. Mary Ott, a pediatrician, during her testimony. She added: “The proposed legislation politicizes what should be a private decision.”

Some anti-abortion activists spoke of a sense of betrayal that lawmakers campaigning as opponents of abortion were delaying an outright ban. One man said “let’s not compromise”, another called the measure “a fraud masquerading as a pro-life bill”, and a third said there was no excuse for not passing a more restrictive law because “there a vast majority of so-called pro-life laws”. -Republican lawmakers live here.”

Some hinted at electoral consequences for inactivity.

“If the language of this bill is not changed, innocent children will die, God’s wrath will continue to pile up against this state, and the Republican Party will lose many of its God-fearing voters,” said Seth Leeman, the pastor of a Baptist church in Noblesville. a suburb of Indianapolis, lawmakers told.

Even amid the squabbling within the party, it remains entirely possible that Indiana will issue an almost complete ban on abortion during its special session, which is expected to continue next week.

Some Republicans elsewhere are also moving forward. In South Carolina, a special panel of lawmakers recently drafted a bill that comes close to a total ban on abortion in the state, though it could be months before a final vote comes.

But even in conservative states where new restrictions don’t take effect right away, Republicans have time on their side.

If Indiana lawmakers are unable to pass new restrictions in the coming weeks, they could try again during a new legislative session in 2023, some Republicans are already suggesting. The Democrats are taking their word for it.

“I worry that if the bill dies, Hoosiers may think access to abortion care is safe — and I want people to know, no, it’s not safe,” said Senator Shelli Yoder, a Democrat from the college city of Bloomington. . “What they have learned from this experience, they will come back in January and they will not fail again.”

Richard Fausset reporting contributed.


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