Dhe Indiana legislature has passed an almost complete ban on abortion. Indiana is the first state to pass a new law with stricter rules after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on abortion. It only allows abortions in exceptional cases: after rape, in cases of incest, when the fetus is not viable or there is a serious health risk for the mother.
The Senate, dominated by the Republican party, approved the law by a vote of 28 to 19 on Friday evening (local time). It was subsequently signed by Republican Governor Eric Holscomb. He said in a statement that it had been carefully considered which exceptions should apply. These would take into account the “unimaginable circumstances that a woman or an unborn child may face”. The law is scheduled to come into force on September 15.
The fight for abortion rights continues in the United States
The US continues to wrestle with abortion rights, which are no longer enshrined in the Constitution since the Supreme Court’s decision in late June. In a referendum in the state of Kansas, a majority voted in favor of continuing to protect the constitutional right to abortion. “Kansas voters have sent a strong signal,” US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday. He also signed a presidential decree to ensure access to all needed healthcare facilities. His Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the state of Idaho.
Kansas residents voted in a referendum Tuesday on whether an amendment to the constitution should remove abortion rights. After counting 95 percent of the votes, according to the New York Times, the proportion of “no” votes was 58.8 percent early Wednesday afternoon (local time). Other US media also reported on the mostly negative outcome of the referendum. Abortion rights activists hailed the vote in Kansas as a clear sign of voter support for politics.
Biden criticizes Supreme Court verdict
The US is in turmoil after the Supreme Court overturned a landmark ruling that had guaranteed abortion rights in the US Constitution for nearly 50 years. Republican states, in particular, have now enacted restrictive abortion laws, while advocates of liberal legislation are up in arms. The result of the Supreme Court ruling is a patchwork of regulations.
The government of US President Biden had also sharply criticized the Supreme Court’s decision and announced that it would campaign for the right to abortion in every conceivable way. His executive order, which has now been signed, is intended to make it easier for women to travel to another state and have an abortion or treatment there. It is not Biden’s first executive order in response to the ruling. However, the US President can only change the situation to a limited extent and the regulations are largely toothless.
In another step, Biden’s Justice Department is taking action against the state of Idaho. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Tuesday in Washington that his department had filed a lawsuit against Idaho’s plans to ban abortion in almost all cases, including medical emergencies for pregnant women. The regulation, which should come into force there at the end of August, only provides for an exception for cases in which a woman’s life is in danger, but not for cases in which an abortion is necessary to seriously endanger a woman’s health to prevent.
According to the Department of Justice, this violates federal law. Because all hospitals that receive certain government funds are required to provide patients in the emergency room with the necessary “stabilizing treatment” to save their lives or prevent serious damage to their health. And under certain circumstances, a termination of pregnancy is absolutely necessary as such “stabilizing treatment”. US President Biden stressed on Wednesday: “Under federal law, no woman, whether pregnant or not, regardless of where she lives, may be turned away or denied necessary treatment during a medical crisis.”
With the result of the referendum, abortions are still legal in Kansas up to about the 22nd week. This makes the state, which itself is governed by a conservative majority, a kind of refuge for pregnant women from nearby states such as Missouri, Oklahoma or Texas, in which abortion is now banned with a few exceptions.