August 4, 2023

Sexual assault victim advocates fear abortion ban's impact

Article origination IPB News
Indiana's near-total abortion ban does allow abortions in cases of rape or incest, but only up to 10 weeks post-fertilization. - Eric Weddle/WFYI

Indiana's near-total abortion ban does allow abortions in cases of rape or incest, but only up to 10 weeks post-fertilization.

Eric Weddle/WFYI

Sexual assault victim advocates say they’re worried victims will become hopeless as abortion access in Indiana is effectively cut off amid uncertainty over the state ban taking effect.

Beth White is the president and CEO of the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking. The state’s impending ban does allow abortions in cases of rape or incest, but only up to 10 weeks post-fertilization. White said that arbitrary time limit makes the exception “meaningless,” especially for underage victims.

“Those young people don’t know what’s happening to their bodies. They don’t even understand what it means to be pregnant … again, it is cruelty on top of trauma and I do not understand how, in the state of Indiana, we can find that acceptable,” White said.

READ MORE: Indiana’s near-total abortion ban was set to take effect Aug. 1. Here’s what you need to know

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While abortion clinics are no longer providing abortions, many are helping people travel to places where they can access such care. White said her organizations are funded through state and federal dollars — meaning, they can’t provide that sort of direct help.

“We try to wrap around help for folks who need to get out of state — what about child care, what about missing work?” White said.

White said she’s most concerned about victims feeling like they have no options and trying to end pregnancies on their own, in unsafe ways.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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