As Indiana’s ‘Near-Total’ Prohibition Takes Effect, Pro-lifers Foresee Workarounds

After the Roe v. Wade decision, pro-lifers are considering potential next moves in the campaign to stop legal abortion. Catholics for Life appealed to the Supreme Court last week to acknowledge the unborn as legal persons. 

This week, Senator Lindsey Graham introduced legislation prohibiting the majority of late-term abortions. Additionally, Indiana’s new abortion law, SB 1, went into force Thursday morning.

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Loopholes

The bill is being challenged in court by the ACLU; it is also contentious among pro-life advocates.

The law has been billed as a near-total prohibition on abortion with limited exclusions for the life and mother’s health, incest and rape, and lethal fetal abnormalities.

However, some pro-life Hoosiers are afraid it is riddled with loopholes and might have catastrophic effects. 

It permits the abortion of a pregnancy conceived by rape or incest up to ten weeks from conception (or 12 weeks of pregnancy calculated from the woman’s last menstruation cycle), but does not demand evidence of the crime. 

The abortionist must list “all facts and arguments underlying the certification,” but this is all that’s required.

SB 1 also eliminates clinic licensing, mandating that all abortions that remain lawful under the measure be performed in a hospital or an outpatient ambulatory surgical center owned by a hospital. 

Chrystal Sisson, a pro-life outdoor counselor, stated this “terminates” her sidewalk outreach because she will have no means of knowing why a woman is visiting a hospital or medical facility. 

Efforts and Outreach 

Almost every day, the Women’s Medical Clinic in Indianapolis is open. Sisson stands outside for two hours. She and other pro-life campaigners phone the women to inform them about Jesus’ love and the fetus and to offer prayer and assistance.

Sisson, who has been providing sidewalk coaching outside of abortion centers since 2013, reported in the past two weeks alone, nine babies were saved from abortion.

This is counting just those whose parents informed the sidewalk counselors they reconsidered their decision and opted for life. 

Mike Fichter, head of Indiana Right to Life, informed reporters that clinics might remain open as counseling and referral centers for abortions, allowing sidewalk advocates to continue their work. Women’s Med is still operational at this time. 

Sisson stated when she first began visiting the clinic, 20 to 25 abortions were performed one day per week. Beginning around the year 2020, when the clinic opened a second day and the average number of abortions per week increased to 40, she reported an increase. 

After the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the numbers soared, according to Sisson. In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson, she asserts the clinic performs between 60 and 80 abortions nearly every weekday. 

Rep. Curt Nisly sponsored an amendment to SB 1 that would have outlawed abortion entirely, but the predominantly Republican House of Representatives rejected the measure by a vote of 93-6.

Nisly voted against the bill’s final version. “Ultimately, it was an abortion bill; it was not a life bill.” 

Fichter stated the law, while not the final solution, was “a significant advance.” The ramifications of the bill are mainly unknown.

This article appeared in NewsHouse and has been published here with permission.

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