Vice President Kamala Harris is headed to Indiana on Monday to discuss abortion rights as the state legislature debates a newly proposed abortion ban in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade being overturned.
The vice president is scheduled to meet with Indiana state legislators around 11:30 a.m. at the State Library, where they are expected to discuss the near-total abortion ban that Republican state senators have proposed.
The Republicans put forth a bill last week that would ban all abortions in the state, only providing exceptions for when the mother’s life is in danger and when the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.
Currently, state law allows the procedure up to the 20th week of a pregnancy.
Later on Monday, the state legislature is scheduled to discuss the proposed bills in a special session that could last several weeks.
The legislature is also considering a second bill in the state Senate that would allocate $45 million for existing and new programs that offer support to pregnancy resource centers, child care, foster and adoptive care, contraception access and more.
Indiana’s abortion laws came under the spotlight earlier this month after it was revealed that a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio had to travel to Indiana to undergo an abortion.
Several Republicans lawmakers cast doubt on the incident, as it was solely revealed by ob-gyn Dr. Caitlin Bernard.
However, illegal immigrant Gerson Fuentes, 27, was later arrested and confessed to police to having sex at least twice with the girl, who would have been just 9 when she was impregnated, authorities said.
Harris’ trip to Indiana comes just over one month after the Supreme Court overturned the nearly 50-year-old abortion protections established in the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling — passing the issue back to the states.
Several Republican-led states immediately implemented complete or near-total bans on the procedure following the decision, while many others — like Indiana — are still weighing the move.
The White House has since vowed to take as much action as it can to protect reproductive access, while urging voters to elect pro-choice lawmakers during the midterms in order to pave the way for codifying abortion rights.
“The fastest way to restore Roe is to pass a national law,” President Biden said earlier this month. “The challenge is go out and vote. For God’s sake, there is an election in November. Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote!”
While abortion activists have accused Republican lawmakers of attacking women in pushing these bills, GOP state senators in Indiana have insisted their legislation would not criminalize women for receiving an abortion.
“Being pro-life is not about criminalizing women,” Republican state Sen. Sue Glick said, according to Fox News. “It’s about preserving the dignity of life and helping mothers bring new happy, healthy babies in the world.”
“For those people who are childbearing age who have children that they’re not equipped to take care of, we want the state of Indiana to assist them in bringing healthy babies into this world and taking care of them after they get here,” Glick added.