Indiana lawmakers want to be ready to protect unborn babies from abortion as soon as the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
That is why they are urging Gov. Eric Holcomb to call a special legislative session this summer if the high court overturns or chips away at the infamous abortion case.
State Rep. J.D. Prescott, R-Union City, was one of 100 state lawmakers who recently signed a letter asking Holcomb for the special session to pass legislation to protect unborn babies, the Winchester News Gazette reports.
“We can’t afford to wait when it comes to protecting the lives of the unborn,” Prescott said. “I fully support returning to the Statehouse as soon as possible to strengthen Indiana’s life protections should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn all or a portion of Roe this summer.”
Currently, because of Roe, states are forced to legalize abortions up to viability. However, the Supreme Court is considering a Mississippi case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, that challenges that precedent. A ruling is expected this summer. Because of the conservative majority on the court, many hope the justices will partially or fully overturn Roe and allow states to protect unborn babies from abortion again.
Prescott, who sponsored a bill that passed this session to protect women from coerced abortions, said Indiana is strongly committed to life. He pointed to an Americans United for Life report that ranked Indiana at the top of states that are prioritizing the right to life for unborn babies.
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In their letter earlier this spring, state lawmakers told Holcomb that they want to protect unborn babies “without delay” as soon as the Supreme Court allows states to do so.
“As a state that recognizes that life is a precious gift that should never be neglected, it is our desire that you … ensure that those values are upheld without delay,” they wrote.
Erin Murphy, press secretary for the Republican governor, told the AP that Holcomb “is absolutely considering” the request for a special pro-life session.
Without a special session, Indiana Right to Life president and CEO Mike Fichter said the legislature would not be able to address a June reversal of Roe vs. Wade until the 2023 legislative session, during which time nearly 4,000 unborn babies would be aborted in Indiana.
“We are deeply appreciative of these legislators taking action to encourage a special session if the Supreme Court opens new opportunities for protecting life in Indiana,” Fichter said in March. “We come alongside these legislators in encouraging Governor Holcomb to take decisive action if Roe vs. Wade is completely, or partially, reversed.”
Indiana is one of 26 states that likely would protect unborn babies by banning abortions if Roe is overturned, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Researchers estimated that abortion numbers would drop by about 120,000 in the first year and potentially even more in subsequent years if the high court allows states to ban abortions again.
There were 7,756 abortions in Indiana in 2020, according to state health statistics. Since Roe in 1973, more than 63.5 million unborn babies have been killed in abortions in the United States.