INDIANAPOLIS — As lawmakers began debate on what the future of abortion will look like in Indiana, thousands chanted, protested and rallied downtown for their side of the abortion argument.
Protests and rallies began Monday morning inside the Indiana Capitol building.
Hoosiers Conservative Voices and Students for Life Action held a press conference and read off statements from Indiana Republican leaders. A half-hour later, the ACLU began a press conference in support of pro-abortion rights.
Throughout the rallies, the crowd of protestors built both inside and outside the Capitol. Anti-abortion supporters called for a total abortion ban in Indiana.
“If you said your pro-life, vote pro-life,” said Chris Hess, an anti-abortion supporter.
Hess held his sign, which read “It’s a child, not a choice,” on the fourth floor of the statehouse.
“Indiana has this opportunity to end abortion and we need to take advantage of it and end abortion period,” he said.
Pro-abortion rights advocates filled the southside atrium inside the Capitol building and the balconies above, with anti-abortion supporters on the fourth floor holding a rally of their own. At times, the two sides chanted back and forth at each other, but the pro-abortion life supporters did outnumber the anti-abortion supporters.
Pro-abortion rights supporters, like Jessica Griffis, said the decision to have an abortion should be left up to each person.
“Abortion should be a woman’s choice,” said Griffis. “It’s not a man’s choice, it’s not the government’s choice, it’s not your church’s choice. It’s a woman’s choice.”
Melissa Ridder was at the rally with her daughter, 14-year-old Lilly Bowman.
“Banning abortion is not going to stop abortion,” Ridder said.”It’s just going to cause women to go to alternative methods.”
While some families stand together on this, others are divided. Pro-abortion rights supporter Jessica Doriot said she is the daughter of Republican State Senator Blake Doriot.
She said she wants lawmakers, her father included, to know there are Hoosiers who do not want abortions banned. Jessica said she believes there are many out there, Republicans included, who do not want abortions to be banned.
“I hope they listen to me, their constituents, to those who actually elected them to office,” she said.
On the other side of the argument, expecting mother and anti-abortion supporter Emily Wamsley said being pregnant has made it even more important for her to make sure lawmakers know where she stands.
“They’re wiggling around and I can feel them move,” she said. “So, no one can tell me it’s not life and that life doesn’t matter.”
Hess said that she believes it is time for the Republican super majorities in Indiana politics to do what they were elected to do.
“We voted for them to do certain things, they need to just do it,” she said. “They need to not just put their finger in the air and see which way the wind is blowing or who is shouting the loudest.”
As the special session continues, supporters of both sides plan to continue being at the statehouse to make their voices heard.