Indiana Republicans begin going public with abortion legislation stances

By: - July 20, 2022 7:00 am

Hoosiers protest coming abortion restrictions (Photo by Whitney Downard of Indiana Capital Chronicle)

Republican Sen. Kyle Walker on Tuesday became the first member of his party to release a public statement detailing his stances for potential abortion legislation — which includes a range of exceptions, plus opposition to criminal penalties.

It came a day before Senate Republicans are set to unveil a bill Wednesday on abortion restrictions that will be debated in the special session starting Monday. Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville, and Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange, also will discuss legislation on financial supports for women and children and the Senate schedule.

Indiana Republicans have been meeting behind-closed-doors to prepare abortion legislation in the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson decision that turned abortion regulations over to states, and now, they’re starting to stake their positions.

Indiana Sen. Kyle Walker (R-Lawrence). (Courtesy Indiana Senate Republicans.)

Walker, who is aiming for a “balanced approach,” according to the release, supports cutting Indiana’s abortion deadline from 20 weeks of gestation to between 12 and 15 weeks.

“With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, I believe we must strike a balance for pregnant women to make their own health decisions in the first trimester of pregnancy and also provide protections for an unborn baby as it progresses toward viability outside the womb, while making exceptions for rape, incest, health of the mother and cases of fatal fetal anomaly,” Walker said in the release.

Walker, of Lawrence, said he formulated his position based on conversations with constituents, some “heartbreaking.”

“In the past several weeks I’ve had mothers and fathers share their heart-wrenching stories with me and I firmly believe we should not force a mother to carry a baby to term that her doctor knows won’t live outside the womb,” Walker said. “In some cases, an early delivery is the only way the parents are able to spend a few minutes with their baby while he or she is still alive.”

Walker also said he supports more funding and other resources for parents during pregnancy and after birth, as well as expanding access to birth control, according to release. Notably, he indicated opposition to criminal penalties for health professionals and pregnant people, as well as requiring survivors of rape or incest to file police reports.

Walker, who represents Fishers and part of Lawrence, was caucused in to his District 31 seat in November 2020 to replace retiring then-Sen. Jim Merritt. He’s up for election in November, in a district that saw significant changes during redistricting in 2021.

A special session begins in earnest on July 25 and must end by August 14, in accordance with state law.

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Leslie Bonilla Muñiz
Leslie Bonilla Muñiz

Leslie joins the Indiana Capital Chronicle after covering city government and urban affairs for the Indianapolis Business Journal for more than a year. She graduated from Northwestern University in March 2021, and has reported for the Chicago Tribune, Voice of America and student publications in Evanston, Illinois, Washington, D.C., and Doha, Qatar.