INDIANAPOLIS — Thousands of people flooded the Indiana Statehouse Monday to protest a proposal that would ban abortions except in cases of rape, incest and if the life of the mother is in danger.
Ear-ringing chants of "My body! My choice!" sounded outside the Senate chamber as committee members heard several hours of public comment.
"I have a right to my body autonomy and nobody has a right to tell me what I can and cannot do with my body," said Valerie Smith, who lives in Northern Indiana and came Indianapolis because she wanted the lawmakers to hear her voice.
"For myself, my children and the future of everyone who has a uterus," Smith said. "We shouldn't have any bans. It's our healthcare."
Although they were outnumbered and not nearly as loud, abortion opponents gathered at the Statehouse too, holding signs, praying and singing.
"I'm here fighting for life," Amelia Ball of Anderson said. "We believe that women should have rights but killing children is not the right thing to do."
Sen. Susan Glick (R – District 13), the abortion bill's author, said her plan does not limit access to birth control or the morning-after pill. Abortions, she said, would still be legal in cases where an unborn child is unable to survive outside of the womb.
Abortion would be banned in Indiana except when the pregnancy was the result of rape, incest, child molestation or sexual misconduct with a minor.
The Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure recessed after 5:30 p.m. Monday. Members will be back in session at 9 a.m. Tuesday to hear more public comments. The committee is scheduled to vote on the abortion bill sometime Tuesday afternoon.
Lawmakers on Monday also unveiled Senate Bill 2, which provides funding to help support expecting mothers and Senate Bill 3, which provides some inflation relief for Hoosiers by capping the gas tax for a period of time and offering a reprieve from sales tax on utilities.
Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @vicryc