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Anti-abortion activists meet at Indiana statehouse, push for further restrictions on bill

Anti-abortion activist Cathie Humbarger.
Mitch Legan
Anti-abortion activist Cathie Humbarger.

Anti-abortion activists celebrated the start of Indiana’s special session at the statehouse Monday. But as the GOP plans to propose a bill on abortion restrictions, some anti-abortion organizers said the bill doesn’t go far enough.

The bill bans abortions outside of rape, incest, and a pregnancy threatening “substantial permanent impairment” of the life of the pregnant person.

Activists such as Cathie Humbarger, former director of Right to Life of northeast Indiana, say the bill should exclude exemptions such as rape.

“Let's hold the rapist accountable,” she said. “Let's come around that mother and help her through this critical time and save the life of that baby as well.”

Letters were read on behalf of U.S. Sen. Mike Braun and Indiana Congressmen Jim Banks and Jim Baird in support of state Republicans’ plan to restrict abortion.

Other speakers included Noblesville pastor Michael Beckwith, who spoke as pro-choice activists continued to gather in the next room.

“And you can hear the sounds of those who want to destroy the babies in the womb. It sounds like demonic voices screaming over there,” Beckwith said.

At the same time as the anti-abortion event, thousands gathered inside and outside of the Statehouse to call for an end to the proposed bill.

Legislators will talk about abortion restrictions and inflation relief during the special session. They have until Aug. 14 to finish their work.