Defenders of reproductive rights are watching nervously as several measures in both Indiana and Kentucky threaten abortion and reproductive health care access.
Indiana is particularly hostile – it has passed six different bills limiting abortion access so far this year, and it has passed a total of 64 anti-abortion bills on record since Roe v. Wade. This makes Indiana one of the most hostile states in the country on abortion rights.
Anti-choice legislation in Indiana includes:
Omnibus abortion bill (HB 1577), which limits telemedicine for abortion care, creates more needless hoops for minors to jump through in order to access abortion care, and spreads harmful assumptions and misinformation about abortion medication.
Mandatory special session to ban abortion care (SB 399/HB 1310): These two bills open the door for outlawing abortion outright in Indiana in the event that Roe v Wade is overturned.
“Coerced” abortion ban (HB 1439): masquerading as a bill protecting victims of sexual violence, this bill heaps restrictions and administrative burdens onto providers while doing nothing to combat sexual violence and reproductive coercion.
Cascading abortion ban (HB 1557), which is noteworthy for the unprecedented number of bans included in one bill, seems to be crafted with the intent to bring a challenge to Roe v. Wade.
Personhood Bill (HB 1539), named with inflammatory intent, criminalizes all abortion care without exception, bans many fertility treatments, and even outlaws common forms of birth control.
Communications Director Katie Rogers noted that this flurry of anti-health care activity is happening during a time when Indiana residents are in real need of relief during a deadly pandemic.
While vigilance and fighting against these cruel and draconian attacks are at the top of the priority list for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana and Kentucky, other fights and projects include improving the maternal mortality rate and reducing this extremely high rate for Black, Indigenous and People of Color in Indiana, obtaining postpartum coverage for Medicaid patients and expanding sex education.
Indiana has been a battleground state for abortion rights since Roe v. Wade passed, and advocates of reproductive rights will continue to fight for patient access to abortion.
Meanwhile, in Kentucky, fast and furious attacks on safe and high-quality abortion care continue. These attacks included the passing of the “born alive” bill – written to solve a problem that is virtually non-existent and has never happened in Kentucky, it is meant to stigmatize abortion and seeks to demonize abortion care providers.
Measures passed to strip Democratic Governor Andy Beshear of his executive powers are troubling to reproductive health care advocates, as well.
Intended to curtail the governor’s power to enact emergency COVID-19 measures, these pieces of legislation could also have devastating effects on Beshear’s ability to defend reproductive rights in the commonwealth.
Promisingly, the Kentucky Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, found Beshear’s emergency pandemic measures for the state to be legal and necessary, and on earlier this month Beshear filed a lawsuit to stop lawmakers from stripping him of these powers.
To learn more about the fight to retain abortion care and reproductive health access in Indiana and Kentucky, and what you can do to help, please visit the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana and Kentucky website.