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IU Law experts weigh in on how Indiana will move forward on Roe v. Wade

Roe vs. Wade
Posted at 7:17 PM, Jun 27, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS — State lawmakers are coming together for a special session on July 6. Originally, the session would focus on addressing inflation, now the session will also map out how the state will move forward when it comes to access to abortion, according to Republican leaders.

While there is no predicting what changes to abortion access will be made, experts from Indiana University say it's likely the changes will be drastic.

"Indiana fairs very poorly with respect to maternal health and most people don't understand that a first-term abortion is much safer than a pregnancy," Jennifer Drobac a Professor of Law at Indiana University said.

According to the latest data by the Indiana Department of Health, there were 7,756 abortions in 2020, of which nearly 67 percent took place within the first trimester.

While the Department of Health doesn't track the reasons why a person might seek an abortion, researchers say the reasons are common.

"People not being ready to parent, people not feeling they are financially, emotionally or prepared to parent are the common reasons at this point," Kristen Jozkowski a professor of Sexual Health at IU said.

As for the age groups, according to data released by the state, people ages 20-24 and who were white had the highest number of abortions in the state. Along with that 85 percent of those seeking an abortion were unmarried.

Experts say if abortion is banned in Indiana, more people are likely to become parents rather than give their child up for adoption.

“It's rare statistically that people will adopt out,” Jozkowski said. “Roughly two to five percent of pregnancies are adopted instead of people parenting, so that's the rare circumstance that people will give their child up for adoption. "

This is why these experts feel more comprehensive sex education and government support will be vital if abortion becomes illegal in Indiana.

"Having preventative mechanisms in place so people experience pregnancy when they want to be pregnant and can parents when they want to parent, " Jozkowski said.

Marion County prosecutor Ryan Mears has said he won't enforce anti-abortion laws. However, legal experts say it's hard for public officials to make those kinds of promises.

For those reasons, legal experts say clinics and healthcare establishments may have a hard time determining how to move forward as legislation is being crafted.

"In response to the law, what this is going to mean for press attention that they might try to avoid, what does this mean for providers who are confused and conflicted,” Aila Hoss an assistant professor at McKinney School of Law at IU said. “I don't know how this is going to pan out, but it's going to be a mess and it will be for a while."

We reached out to several hospital systems in the area and the ones that responded were those with deeply held religious views like Franciscan Health which is an anti-abortion establishment.

The Indiana Hospital Association sent us a statement saying,

"Because state-level decisions are still unfolding, IHA has not yet seen any legislative proposals on which to comment. Regardless, Indiana Hospitals remain committed to providing the highest quality of care to all patients and communities."