Dear League Members,
Having spent both July 25 and August 2 at the Statehouse during the Senate and House hearings, witnessing the overwhelming opposition to SB1 as well as the highly emotional support for an absolute ban on abortion, I'd like to share my observations as well as the testimony I delivered to the hearing in the Indiana House.
How fitting that the bill was not assigned to the House Committee on Public Health!
The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee met August 2 from 9 am to nearly 6 pm, nonstop. I was there for the entire meeting, reluctant to leave for fear of missing my name coming up to speak. There were only 7 speakers after me so it was a long wait! Schedulers gave priority to 15 doctors in a row at one point in the morning, which I viewed as positive.
There were 43 Right to Life testimonies out of 135-140 total. Many of them oppose any abortions and they want stiff criminal penalties for mother, father, and medical personnel. As this plays out, the federal/state and church/state issues will both be huge, I think. And we need to be able to frame this for voters this fall! Gerrymandering has given us this mess.
Fortunately, the House removed criminal charges for feticide and responded to some of the testimony from medical professionals, but there are obvious concerns remaining. Amendment 25 was adopted by consent before testimony began, changing the 8- and 12-week time limitations imposed by the Senate to a uniform 10 weeks.
When testimony was finished, the committee entertained several House amendments (49, 39, 37, 32, 43) that were all defeated effectively on party lines. Cindy Ziemke broke with her party to vote with the Democrats on #37 and #43.
- AM#25 - Abortion.
- AM#49 - Abortion clinic definition.
- AM#39 - Telehealth.
- AM#37 - Pregnancy accommodations.
- AM#32 - Board establishment of implicit bias continuing education.
- AM#43 - Makes the effective date November 1, 2022.
Matt Pierce (D, H61) was asked to delay proposing Amendment 43 to the 2nd reading in the House—tomorrow. The final committee vote on the bill as amended was 8-5, with the Democrats and Cindy Ziemke (R, H55) voting no.
· Matt Pierce called out the use of “bodily autonomy” by the religious right who didn’t want vaccinations—and yet want to violate women’s bodily autonomy.
· There was a Senate amendment filed calling for a referendum Fall 2022—“Shall access to reproductive health care, including abortions, be provided by Indiana law?” Results would be advisory only..
HOUSE COURTS AND CRIMINAL CODE COMMITTEE HEARING ON SB 1 AUGUST 2, 2022 --TESTIMONY on Behalf of LWVIN
Good afternoon, Representative McNamara and members of the Courts and Criminal Code Committee. I am Linda Hanson, Co-President of the League of Women Voters of Indiana.
Having lost a friend to a botched illegal abortion while we were in college, prior to Roe, I had hoped never to see this battle a second time. But we must engage, for our daughters and granddaughters.
You are considering legislation that will have an undue negative impact on women, children, and families in Indiana. Some of you may have listened to the testimony presented to the Senate last week. If so, you heard, as I did, testimony presented by medical professionals, health and social service representatives, individuals already impacted by this proposal, and diverse religious leaders, all opposed to this legislation—though not for the same reasons.
Even with Amendment 25 and its tight time frame, this legislation does not respond to medical science or concerns about healthcare access or privacy issues or bodily autonomy or even the potential economic impact. And it cannot respond to the diverse religious beliefs because the religious leaders did not speak with one voice. Yet this legislation would allow religious beliefs of some to dictate others’ personal medical and moral decisions. The foundational principle of separation of church and state is meant to protect all citizens from that future, to honor our diversity.
This Statehouse, set in its square in the middle of the state, like the quintessential courthouse square prevalent across Indiana and the Midwest, symbolically places the rule of law at the center of American civil life, instead of religion.
We ask that you reconsider this proposed action, keeping in mind that you are legislating for ALL Hoosiers—and the majority do not want this bill. Please VOTE NO on SB1.
Longstanding League positions underline our opposition:
The League of Women Voters promotes an open governmental system that is representative, accountable, and responsive.
--We believe responsible government should be responsive to the will of the people.
--We support and work to secure equal rights and equal opportunity for all, to promote social and economic justice, and the health and safety of all Americans.
On June 24, the day Roe was overturned, the League of Women Voters National Convention adopted a resolution reaffirming support for the rights of women… to self-determination related to …bodily autonomy, privacy, reproductive health, and lifestyle choice.
Everyone should have the freedom to decide if and when to have children – without politicians interfering.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak, and thank you for your service.