US: Indiana approves first state abortion ban since Roe overturned

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The Republican-controlled Indiana Senate gave the final legislative approval on Friday to a bill that would ban most abortions, six weeks after a US Supreme Court decision erased a woman’s constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy.

The bill, adopted on a 28-19 vote hours after clearing the state’s House of Representatives, would make Indiana the first US state to impose such a ban since the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case legalising abortion nationwide was overturned on June 24.

A decision on whether to sign the measure into law is now up to Republican Governor Eric Holcomb.

West Virginia is likely days away from passing a near-total abortion ban, and some 10 other Republican-led states have already implemented similarly strict prohibitions that were on the books before Dobbs replaced Roe as the law of the land.

Current Indiana law, in effect pending the governor’s signature on the newly passed abortion bill, SB-1, permits abortions up to 22 weeks after a patient’s last menstrual period, with several additional restrictions.

SB-1 would ban abortions altogether, with exceptions allowed in cases of fetal abnormalities considered lethal, or to prevent serious physical health risks to the mother. Exceptions also are permitted for underage victims of rape or incest, but only up to 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Physicians found to have violated the measure could be charged with a felony and face the revocation of their medical license.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates-East organised a protest at the Indiana statehouse on Friday evening to oppose an abortion ban. Earlier in the day, dozens of abortion rights advocates rallied at the Capitol, chanting “Shame on you!” as members of the House passed the bill.