(INDIANAPOLIS) – The Indiana abortion ban taking effect September 15 isn’t the end of legislators’ debate on the issue.
House and Senate leaders are pledging a fresh look at expanding prenatal screenings, child care, and other services, to handle the expected increase in births. Hours before passing the abortion ban, legislators approved $87 million for wraparound services. LaGrange Senator Susan Glick (R) says they’ll take a fresh look at those programs when the new session starts in January.
Glick says many women testified they opted for abortion because they lacked the resources to handle pregnancy or motherhood. “I hope and pray we can tell the women of Indiana that should not be a choice they have to make in the future,” Glick says.
Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor (R-Indianapolis) calls the funding inadequate. He notes just over half the money isn’t earmarked for a specific program, but is left to the State Budget Agency to decide. And he says even if Republicans do increase funding in the new budget, it’ll be nearly a year from now before that money’s available.
And while Senate President Pro Tem Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) says Indiana has a “decent infrastructure” of existing programs to build on, the state has one of the worst rates of mothers and babies dying within the first year after birth. About a third of Indiana counties have no hospitals with ob/gyn services.
Some anti-abortion legislators still hope to pursue further restrictions when the General Assembly returns in January, while Glick says it’s possible legislators could revise the new law’s 10-week limit on abortions in cases of rape or incest after seeing what happens in the first three months under the new law.
Bray says legislators will consider allowing pharmacists to dispense birth control pills without a prescription. An attempt to add that provision on Thursday failed by a single vote in the House. Bray says Republicans are open to the idea, but says it needs more thorough vetting.
8,400 Indiana women had abortions last year. Except for the narrow rape and incest exception, those procedures will now be banned except when the mother faces a serious health risk, or the fetus has a fatal birth defect discovered within 20 weeks.