INDIANAPOLIS — A proposal that would ban abortions except in cases of rape, incest and when the mother's life is at risk moved closer to becoming law in Indiana on Tuesday.
After hearing comments from hundreds of people over two days, the Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure voted 7-5 to move the measure to full senate for debate and another vote.
The bill's author, Sen. Susan Glick, R-LaGrange said she expects the bill to change quite a bit before it ends up on the governor's desk.
"People need to keep in mind that this is a process," Glick told WRTV. "There will be second reading amendments... There will be third reading probably on Friday, then these bills will pass over to the House of Representatives and they're going to have an equal number of amendments."
Hundreds of anti-abortion demonstrators rallied at the Statehouse Tuesday. Many called on lawmakers to ban all abortions in Indiana, even in the case of rape and incest.
"We're here to support life. We’re here to support the life of the mom and the life of the baby because it begins at conception," said Jaris Wagner, a southern Indiana resident who was at the Statehouse with her husband Brock and children Blaise, 2, and Maccabee, 8 months.
Wagner said the anti-abortion movement is driven by families and friends with relationships with each other, their churches and their like-minded neighbors. People ought to show more of that kind of love, she said.
"I feel people need to reach out more to people who believe differently, to soften their hearts instead of being so aggressive," Wagner said.
Beth White, president and CEO of the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking, spent two days at the Statehouse waiting for a chance to comment on the abortion ban. Her name was not called and the committee stopped hearing public comments Tuesday.
"Every survivor deserves confidentiality," White said. "They deserve help and they deserve options."
Survivors of sexual violence have so much power taken away from them during an assault, White said. The state, she said, should not take from them the power to make their own decisions about abortion.
"Having the choice, the empowerment to make that choice is something that's really really important to survivors," White said. "It's not lost on me that most of our legislators are men over the age of 60. So what we want to do is hear from women in Indiana who will be impacted by this."
While abortion is dominating this special session, lawmakers are also working on measures aimed at fighting inflation.
Members of the Indiana House are considering Gov. Eric Holcomb's proposal to give Hoosiers an automatic $225 refund. That measure, HB 1001, passed the House Ways and Means Committee on a 22-0 vote.
Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at email@example.com or on Twitter: @vicryc
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