July 30, 2023

Before Indiana’s near-total abortion ban goes back in effect this week, abortion rights advocates gather

Democratic Indianapolis City-County Councilor Ali Brown spoke at the gathering. - Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Democratic Indianapolis City-County Councilor Ali Brown spoke at the gathering.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Abortion rights supporters gathered Sunday in Indianapolis to voice their opposition to a near-total abortion ban that goes back into effect in Indiana on Tuesday.

The Indiana General Assembly passed the ban last year, but it was challenged and halted shortly after taking effect. Last month, the Indiana Supreme Court decided that the ban does not violate the state’s constitution.

Under the law, abortions are only allowed if the pregnant person’s serious health or life is at risk; if there’s a lethal fetal anomaly up to 20 weeks post-fertilization; and in cases of rape or incest, but only up to 10 weeks.

Sunday’s event was organized by the Indianapolis National Organization for Women. About 25 people attended to voice their commitment to continue advocating for abortion rights.

Democratic Indianapolis City-County Councilor Ali Brown spoke at the gathering. She said she experienced placental abruption during the birth of her son in 2017, causing her to lose a large amount of blood. She said if she becomes pregnant again, her life could be in danger. 

Brown said abortion is necessary health care, and nothing should come between a pregnant person and their doctor in deciding if they wish to have an abortion.

“It is a right that I was born with, and on Tuesday, I will wake up without that right, and I find it disgusting and reprehensible that people would put their religious positions over the health and safety of pregnant people,” Brown said.

Janette Cobb worked at an abortion clinic in Indianapolis when Roe v. Wade was overturned and Indiana enacted its own abortion ban. Cobb left her job in abortion care last year, and said the law has driven many healthcare workers she knows who provide abortions to leave the field.

“It broke my heart to leave abortion care,” she said. “But I have a mortgage to pay and I’m the primary breadwinner in my home. What am I supposed to do? I have to work.”

She said she still thinks of her patients often.

“They deserve access to their bodies,” Cobb said. “They deserve to be able to decide for themselves whether or not they want to be pregnant. And what will they do now?”

The nonprofit group MADVoters Indiana helped organize the event. Co-founder Chelsea McDonnel said her work to fight against the ban is not over.

“This is still a very real issue, this is a huge risk to our communities. We need to be loud again and we need to show up in a really big way and we need to remind them that this isn’t okay,” she said.

More abortion rights demonstrations are expected to take place across the state Monday.

Indiana Public Broadcasting's Brandon Smith contributed to this story.

Contact WFYI criminal justice reporter Katrina Pross at kpross@wfyi.orgPross is a Corps Member of Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project.

 

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