What Indiana's Abortion Ban Means as State Approves Post-Roe Legislation

Indiana has become the first state in the nation to introduce new legislation restricting access to abortion following the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.

Republican Governor Eric Holcomb signed the new law on Friday after it cleared the GOP-controlled state House with no support from Democrats, while nine Republicans also opposed it, arguing it was either too strict or not strict enough.

Holcomb and anti-abortion advocates welcomed the legislation, but it has been condemned by Democrats and supporters of abortion rights.

Here's a look at how Indiana's law will work.

When Will The Law Come Into Effect?

Indiana's new law restricting abortions passed the state House by a vote of 62 to 38 and the state Senate 28 to 19 and was quickly signed by Governor Holcomb, but it will not come into effect until September 15.

The state passed the bill after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 abortion rights rulings Roe v. Wade and 1992's Planned Parenthood v. Casey in an opinion issued on June 24.

What Are the Exceptions?

The new law is an almost complete ban on abortions in Indiana but it contains certain exceptions and is less restrictive than what some anti-abortion advocates might have wanted.

The law allows abortions in cases of rape or incest up to 10 weeks after fertilization. Victims of rape or incest will not be required to sign a notarized affidavit attesting that they were attacked, which had previously been proposed.

Abortions will also be permissible to protect the life of the woman and if the fetus has a fatal abnormality.

Will Abortion Clinics Close?

The recently passed legislation requires abortions to be performed only in hospitals or outpatient centers that are owned by hospitals. This will effectively mean that abortion clinics in Indiana will have to close because they will lose their licenses.

Doctors will also be at risk of losing their medical licenses if they perform an illegal abortion or if they fail to file the required paperwork. That part of the law is stronger than previous Indiana legislation that said doctors "may" lose their license under those circumstances.

Reactions

Governor Holcomb praised the new legislation in a statement issued shortly after he signed the bill, saying he had "stated clearly that I would be willing to support legislation that made progress in protecting life" after Roe was overturned.

The governor said he was "personally most proud of each Hoosier who came forward to courageously share their views in a debate that is unlikely to cease any time soon. For my part as your governor, I will continue to keep an open ear."

By contrast, the Indiana Democratic Party said the law was "the worst form of government overreach and will endanger women and little girls' lives across the state."

Protesters at the Indiana State Capitol
An abortion rights protester shouts at a group of anti-abortion activists at the Indiana State Capitol building on July 25, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. A new law restricting abortion will take effect in Indiana on September 15. Jon Cherry/Getty Images