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Kamala Harris to visit Indiana as state lawmakers set to debate proposed abortion ban bill

On Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Indiana, where she is expected to meet with state legislators and officials to discuss a newly proposed abortion ban.

Harris is scheduled to arrive at Indianapolis International Airport Monday morning before setting off for the Indiana State Library, where she will convene with state legislators. Their discussions will likely center around a series of abortion-related bills Indiana Republicans proposed on Wednesday, July 20, that ban abortion with some exceptions and expands some contraceptive services.

The discussion will happen before the legislators vote on the proposals during a special session later in the day.

Indiana Republicans proposed a series of bills Wednesday that outlaw most abortion procedures in the state while increasing access to contraceptive care and funds for women and children. Debate over the bills is expected to begin Monday morning.

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One such bill would ban abortions from the moment a fertilized egg is implanted while allowing exceptions such as in cases of rape, incest or to protect a woman’s life.

Current laws on the books in Indiana allow abortions up until the 20th week of pregnancy, although they are somewhat restricted passed the 13th week. The 10-year-old underwent an abortion in Indiana on June 30.

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“I’m confident we’ll find a thoughtful way forward that shows compassion for both mothers and babies,” Republican House Speaker Todd Huston said.

A separate bill would allocate $45 million from the budget to agencies that “support the health of pregnant women, postpartum mothers, and infants.” Another bill will expand the adoption tax credit and directs an additional $58 million to services for pregnant women.

“Being pro-life is not about criminalizing women,” Republican state Sen. Sue Glick, one of the bill’s sponsors, added. “It’s about preserving the dignity of life and helping mothers bring new happy, healthy babies in the world.”

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray and State Sen. Sue Glick at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Wednesday, July 20, 2022.

“For those people who are childbearing age who have children that they’re not equipped to take care of, we want the state of Indiana to assist them in bringing healthy babies into this world and taking care of them after they get here,” she also said.

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An Indiana Health Department report indicated nearly 99% of abortions performed in the state last year were at 13 weeks or earlier.

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a meeting with North Carolina state legislators at the Carole Hoefener Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, on July 21, 2022. 

The vice president will remain in Indiana for several hours before she returns to Joint Base Andrews in Washington, D.C. Monday afternoon.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade returned the legality of abortion to state legislators.

Indiana has been in the spotlight recently after a story about a 10-year-old rape victim who became pregnant in Ohio traveled to Indiana to seek an abortion gained national attention.

The story was cited by proponents of abortion access, who highlighted it as an example of the consequences of access being limited. It was even echoed by President Biden in a speech announcing measures to protect abortion access.

A 27-year-old illegal immigrant from Guatemala was charged in the girl’s rape.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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