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Indiana lawmakers, activists respond to U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade

Indiana lawmakers, for weeks, planned to call a special session to further restrict abortion access in the state.
Lauren Chapman/IPB News
Indiana lawmakers, for weeks, planned to call a special session to further restrict abortion access in the state.

The U.S. Supreme Court officially reversed Roe v. Wade Friday, declaring that the constitutional right to abortion upheld for nearly 50 years, no longer exists.

Indiana lawmakers, for weeks, planned to call a special session to further restrict abortion access in the state. A special session is already set for July 6 to send inflation relief to Hoosiers.

State lawmakers’ reaction

Senate President Pro Temp Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) said in a statement Friday he expects to work on abortion legislation during the upcoming July 6 special session.

"We certainly realize this is an extremely contentious and potentially polarizing issue. We will proceed with this conversation in a civil and substantive way so that all sides have the opportunity to be heard as we chart a course for Hoosiers," Bray said.

Much like Indiana’s federal GOP delegation, state Republican lawmakers celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision Friday.

Sen. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne) said in a statement the decision “begins a new chapter in our nation’s history.”

“By overturning Roe, the justices are returning abortion policymaking to the states,” Brown said in a statement. “Hoosier elected officials are better positioned to set abortion policy than unelected judges, as we are answerable to voters and they are not.”

Indiana Democrats responded to the news almost immediately following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision.

House Democratic Caucus Chair Terri Austin (D-Anderson) and House Floor Leader Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis) released a statement saying "protecting women’s reproductive rights is protecting women and their futures."

House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) echoed those sentiments in his own statement.

"Put plainly, access to abortion has allowed women and families to plan their futures on their terms. It’s given women freedom, economic mobility and safety. Now, all of that is under threat," GiaQuinta said in a statement.

Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) said in statement, Indiana already has the second highest rate of child abuse and the highest rate of child deaths from abuse in the nation. He said state is unprepared for the consequences of restricting abortion access.

“This ruling will plunge us back into a society where the most personal aspect of a woman’s life will be at the mercy of her state legislature,” he said.

READ MORE: Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, ending right to abortion upheld for decades

Federal Indiana lawmakers' reaction

Indiana’s senators praised the decision Friday by the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority to overturn Roe v. Wade.

U.S. Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) both tweeted support for the decision, which is likely to lead to abortion bans in half the states.

“After 50 years, the right to life has finally been returned to the people and their elected representatives,” Braun wrote on Twitter shortly after the announcement. “I’m excited to see the states take the lead to protect the unborn, and I look forward to crafting solutions that will defend the unborn and save lives.”

Young wrote in a separate post that the original decision was wrongly decided.

“Today is a monumental day for the protection of life in America and a defining moment for our nation,” Young wrote. “Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, and the Supreme Court has corrected a historic injustice.”

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) called for Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana legislature to convene a special session to pass legislation outlawing abortion in Indiana.

Banks called the decision “joyful” in a statement sent out Friday morning, and said he would be celebrating with his wife and daughters.

Some states have trigger laws in place, in the event of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, so abortion would become illegal immediately. But state lawmakers did not pass such a law during their 2022 legislative session.

This story will be updated.

WFIU/TIU's Bente Bouthier, George Hale and Cathy Knapp contributed to this story. Indiana Public Broadcasting's Lauren Chapman also contributed to this report.

John, News Editor for LPM, is a corps member with Report For America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Email John at jboyle@lpm.org.

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