INDIANAPOLIS — Observers tell CBS4 News how quickly Indiana lawmakers move to reexamine the state’s abortion laws may depend on the makeup of the GOP ballot in the fall November election and whether democrats pick up any republican seats in the fall.
Governor Eric Holcomb indicated he is in no hurry to call a special session of the General Assembly to consider rewriting Indiana’s abortion laws after a draft of the U.S. Supreme Court’s anticipated ruling overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision was leaked.
“Before further commenting on a leaked draft document out of the Supreme Court, like the rest of the country, I’ll wait to review the official and final decision they release on the matter in the few weeks and months ahead,” read a statement issued in the governor’s name.
Republican Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray of Martinsville issued the following statement:
“It is good news and suggests Indiana will be in a position to improve our record as a strong defender of life. It is premature to say exactly what legislation could look like.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter:
“Rather than judges handing down decisions about unborn life, Hoosiers will have the chance to come together to demonstrate our value for life and commitment that every person deserves to be born. In the interim, we eagerly await the Court’s own voice on the matter.”
Rebecca Gibron, CEO for Planned Parenthood Great Northwest Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, said:
“This is not what the majority of voters in Indiana want. 88% of Hoosiers believe individuals should have the freedom to decide when to start a family. We will never stop fighting for everyone’s ability to access essential reproductive health care.”
Analysts told CBS4 News that the anticipated rollback of Roe v. Wade still leaves Indiana a long way from rewriting its own abortion laws.
“Roe v. Wade will be overturned and this will open up the possibility of state governments the right to determine policies on abortion for themselves. They won’t have to abide by federal precedent,” said Laura Wilson, assistant professor of political science at the University of Indianapolis. “It would give the state a lot of liberty to decide how we want to address this policy. It’s quite possible that we would follow precedents that we’ve seen in Texas and Mississippi but the state itself is not a monolith and it is hoped you would see a diversity of opinions and hopefully some thoughtful leadership in crafting this legislation.”
Rep. Ed Delaney, a democrat representing Indianapolis, said that he hopes cooler heads will prevail and give the abortion law rewrite careful consideration and not jump to the opportunity of a special session to push through more restrictive laws, though today’s republican primary results or anticipation of democrat victories in the November general election could convince the GOP majority to pick up its legislative pace.
“I’m afraid that they’re gonna try to cook up a deal that suits them that would be pretty extreme, shove it through and try to get on with life,” he said. “We’ll learn today if the extremists win. There are about six or seven primaries in the Indiana house among the republicans where we could have more extremists. If they come in, that will change things.”
IU Law Professor Jody Madeira worries that the Roe v. Wade draft indicates a drift among the conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court to consider rolling back other hard-won rights.
“This might go further than the abortion right,” she warned. “I believe that that there’s ground to believe that it could undermine the entire line of rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, such as same-sex marriage, such as contraception, because the standard that this ruling puts in place, is this right deeply rooted in history and tradition?”