INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The administration of President Joe Biden and two of Indiana’s largest employers have condemned the state’s new ban on abortions, with the White House calling it another extreme attempt by Republicans to trample women’s rights.
Indiana on Friday became the first state in the nation to approve such legislation since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a 1973 landmark case that had protected the right to abortion nationwide.
“The Indiana Legislature took a devastating step as a result of the Supreme Court’s extreme decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate women’s constitutionally protected right to abortion,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement Saturday. “And, it’s another radical step by Republican legislators to take away women’s reproductive rights and freedom, and put personal health care decisions in the hands of politicians rather than women and their doctors.”
The ban, which takes effect Sept. 15, includes some exceptions. Abortions will be permitted in cases of rape and incest, before 10-weeks post-fertilization; to protect the life and physical health of the mother; and if a fetus is diagnosed with a lethal anomaly. Victims of rape and incest won’t be required to sign a notarized affidavit attesting to an attack, as had once been proposed.
Under the bill, abortions can only be performed in hospitals or outpatient centers owned by hospitals, meaning all abortion clinics will lose their licenses. A doctor who performs an illegal abortion or fails to file required reports will lose their medical license.
Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co., which employs 10,400 people at its headquarters in Indianapolis, warned that the ban could lead it to reassess its presence in Indiana.
“We are concerned that this law will hinder Lilly’s — and Indiana’s — ability to attract diverse scientific, engineering and business talent from around the world,” the company said in a statement Saturday. “While we have expanded our employee health plan coverage to include travel for reproductive services unavailable locally, that may not be enough for some current and potential employees.”
“Given this new law, we will be forced to plan for more employment growth outside our home state,” it said.
Lilly has research and development hubs in New York City and the California cities of San Diego and San Francisco, and this year announced it would build a $700 million genetic medicine hub in Boston.
Lilly was not among the more than 250 businesses that opposed abortion restrictions in a letter released July 21 by the American Civil Liberties Union, The Indianapolis Star reported.
IU Health, Indiana’s largest health care system, said it was studying the new law.
“IU Health’s priority remains ensuring our physicians and patients have clarity when making decisions about pregnancy within the limits of the law. We will take the next few weeks to fully understand the terms of the new law and how to incorporate the changes into our medical practice to protect our providers and care for the people seeking reproductive healthcare,” it said in a statement.
The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce urged the General Assembly to proceed with caution.
“Over the last two weeks, the Indiana General Assembly has debated a substantial policy change on the issue of abortion in a compressed timeframe,” the chamber said in a statement Thursday. “Such an expedited legislative process — rushing to advance state policy on broad, complex issues — is, at best, detrimental to Hoosiers, and at worst, reckless.”
In Columbus, Indiana, hometown of former Vice President Mike Pence, engine maker Cummins is also opposing it.
The company said it is “deeply concerned” about how the law could impede its ability to attract and retain a diverse workforce and the ability to ensure women have equal opportunity to fully participate in the workforce.
“This law is contrary to this goal and we oppose it,” said the statement.
Cummins says it will continue to provide its employees access to high quality and affordable healthcare, including reproductive health benefits, “regardless of where they live.”
Cummins employs about 10,000 in the Hoosier State, as well as more than 52,000 more globally.