Senate Republicans narrow rape and incest exception in proposed abortion ban

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(Photo supplied/Pixabay)
Senate Republicans have narrowed a rape and incest exception in a proposed abortion ban, with signs of a potential rocky road ahead.
The ban’s exception for rape or incest would now apply only up to eight weeks of pregnancy — for girls under 16, it would apply up to 12 weeks. And victims would have to sign an affidavit to go in their medical record.
Democrats, who already opposed the bill, warn many women won’t even know they’re pregnant that quickly. Even if they do, Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) and Bloomington Senator Shelli Yoder (D) say the affidavit requirement will retraumatize victims already struggling with the trauma of the original assault. And Yoder says the tight time window creates pressure when women are trying to make a difficult decision. She says when she got pregnant before she was married, having time to make that decision to go forward with her pregnancy was critical.
The bill squeaked out of committee 7-5, after unanimous opposition to the bill from more than 60 witnesses who testified on both sides of the issue. Senate Majority Leader Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) says seven hours of testimony established the impossibility of “threading the needle” on the issue, especially on the tight schedule of a special session. Even the bill’s author, LaGrange Republican Susan Glick, says she’s “not exactly” happy with either her original bill or the first revision, and urged senators to treat it as a work in progress.
Senators Eric Bassler (R-Washington) and Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso) voted yes on that basis, but warned they may vote against the bill in the full Senate if the bill isn’t improved. Charbonneau says he hopes to see “a bad bill become less bad,” and says he was “physically sick to (his) stomach” listening to the no-compromise positions on both sides of the issue.
Anti-abortion activists gathered outside the Senate chamber to chant demands for a ban with no exceptions except if the mother’s life is in danger, a day after an even louder protest in the same location by abortion-rights supporters. An amendment to do so was filed but not called up for discussion. Senators on both sides of the issue can introduce further amendments for votes on Thursday, a day before the Senate hopes to take a final vote.

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