Hundreds of protesters rallied at the Indiana Statehouse on Monday as lawmakers began a special session to ban abortion in the state.
Activists chanted and held signs for and against the new bill that would ban abortion except for cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother.
“Never did I think that I’d have to march for anything like this, for our rights as human beings and to be told what to do with your body,” Maggie Matz told the IndyStar.
Another activist held a sign reading “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”
Indiana is the first state to hold a special session on abortion and joins about a dozen other states that have banned abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade last month.
Vice President Kamala Harris also traveled to Indianapolis Monday to meet with lawmakers a block from the Indiana Statehouse for a roundtable on abortion rights.
Harris criticized the Republican proposal and said most women do not realize they are pregnant until they are unable to access an abortion.
“Some people need to actually learn how a woman’s body works,” Harris said.
Indiana has received a lot of attention over the last couple of weeks after a 10-year-old rape victim traveled from Ohio to Indiana to seek an abortion.
“The idea that in some states after a child or a woman or a man, but in particular in this case of abortion, a woman or a child would have endured such an act of violence and then to suggest that she would not have the autonomy and authority to make a decision about what happens to her body is outrageous,” Harris said.
“Our underlying goal is to protect human life, promote more adoption and less abortion by limiting abortion to the life of the mother, rape and incest,” said Rodric Bray, the head of the Indiana state Senate, as he unveiled the initial abortion bill last week.
While some Republicans think the bill does not go far enough, others think it is too harsh as Democrats are expected to force votes on amendments.
“Just watch when people get a hold of this piece of legislation and find out that we have an outright ban on abortion in Indiana. It’s going to get worse,” said Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor.
Harris has been traveling across the country in the last month to discuss reproductive rights with state legislators in North Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and now Indiana.
“We stand with the women of Indiana,” Harris said. “We trust the women of Indiana to make decisions about their own lives without requiring their government to tell them what to do with their bodies.”
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