- Katherine Coplen
- Young protesters at the We Are Women rally in front of the Indiana Statehouse in April 2012.
Dozens of Hoosiers gathered at the Statehouse Wednesday with nearly 3,000 signatures on a petition denouncing Rep. Curt Nisly’s proposed total abortion ban.
The Indiana Reproductive Justice Coalition, which represents 10 Indiana organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, delivered the petition to the governor’s office. Ali Slocum, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky’s director of communications, said the petitions are “an effort to champion compassionate and accessible policies that support healthy Hoosier families.”
Nisly, R-Goshen, said he introduced House Bill 1134 as a “protection of life,” because it’s time for Indiana to update its laws.
“What it does is says that after human life begins, you should not be able to kill it,” he said.
Three Park Tudor High School students skipped school Wednesday and went to the Statehouse after seeing a post on social media about the delivery of the petition. The three seniors said they’re glad they came downtown.
Natalie Odmark, one of four co-founders of the high school’s Women’s Equality Advancement group, called it her responsibility to relay information from the Statehouse to the group.
“It would be a great danger to women’s health in general,” Odmark said. “It’s 2017. We need to stop going backwards and actually start making reforms when it comes to abortion that helps women instead of just making blanket statements such as, ‘No abortion.’ It helps nobody.”
Similarly, several Indiana activist group representatives in attendance spoke out against Nisly’s bill, calling it an attempt to strip Hoosiers of their constitutional rights.
“Once more our rights are being debated,” said Harmony Glenn, who spoke on behalf of Indy Feminists. “As Hoosiers, as activists, as humans, we find this unacceptable.”
Satchuel Cole, who represented the social justice groups Don’t Sleep and Black Lives Matter, said Indiana should not be known as a state with “well-regulated vaginas” as a result of this legislation.
When asked last week about Nisly’s push for the legislation, Holcomb said he is “pro-life” but said the ban is not among his legislative priorities.
“That is his decision to make,” Nisly said. “I certainly hope he listens to the many Hoosiers that I’ve been hearing from who are very supportive of this. This has a lot of support around the state.”
Despite the petitions, Nisly said he has received support from several Hoosiers across the state.