Indiana Daily Student

OPINION: Hoosiers, be vigilant of threats to abortion laws during pandemic

A Planned Parenthood clinic sign is pictured.
A Planned Parenthood clinic sign is pictured.

While the coronavirus ravaged the U.S. at the end of March, lawmakers in Alabama, Ohio and Texas attempted to limit abortion access during the pandemic. These states cited abortions as “unnecessary medical procedures.” Judges did not allow such laws to pass. The Texas ban was temporarily reinstated Tuesday.

With Indiana being one of the most restrictive states on abortion, it's hardly surprising that Gov. Holcomb enacted a similar restriction Wednesday. Hoosiers must be aware of what lawmakers are doing and stand vigilant in protecting their rights, especially during this time of uncertainty due to COVID-19.

Outside of these four states, Mississippi and Kentucky have banned abortions, referring to them as "elective procedures," or nonessential, with the exception of a danger to the mother’s life.

While Holcomb’s executive order does not single out abortions, it most certainly is a threat to women’s rights. Taking away such medical facilities poses more harm than good to the public. 

As of March 1, Indiana law states that abortions cannot take place after 10 to 16 weeks depending on method and reason for the procedure and 20 to 22 weeks postfertilization if it is endangering the mother.

The patient must take part in counseling, which involves description of the procedure and fetal development, offering the explanation of the fetus’s “personhood and ability to feel pain.” It is required before the procedure, and can inflict emotional trauma and discourage patients from getting the procedure. 

After this, the patient must wait 18 hours before having the procedure in Indiana. To add to the trauma, insurance will only cover abortion in the state if it is in cases of rape, incest or danger to the mother's health.

The counseling and restrictions vary from state to state. Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Utah laws are currently the most restrictive.

A bill was introduced on Jan. 16 by Rep. Curt Nisly, R-Goshen, in an attempt to make abortion illegal in Indiana and criminalize anyone involved in allowing the procedure, citing it as murder.

This proves that the state government was thinking about prohibiting these rights long before the coronavirus safety precautions were issued in Indiana. The coronavirus pandemic is now being used as a tool for restricting abortions and other medical procedures the government deems unnecessary.

In July 2019, another bill involving the restriction of second-trimester “dilation and evacuation” abortions, unless it compromises health, was nearly passed in Indiana but was ruled unconstitutional. The state desired to put Hoosier women at risk long before the epidemic, and their actions are not for the protection of the public. They are only pushing forth their radical, misogynistic, biased beliefs to hurt those affected by their views.

There are only four abortion clinics in Indiana, one of which is in Bloomington.

Hoosiers must not allow lawmakers to take advantage of the most vulnerable time the country has seen since the Spanish flu pandemic. By remaining aware of bills, remaining vigilant on current laws and spreading awareness via the Internet, Hoosiers will not let pro-life lawmakers win.

Kailyn Hilycord (she/her) is a senior studying journalism, English and music. She plans to pursue graduate studies in journalism.

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