INDIANAPOLIS — With the Legislature's decision on stricter abortion laws still yet to be made, Hoosiers flooded into downtown Indianapolis on Saturday to express how they'd like state lawmakers to respond to the Supreme Court's landmark decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The Supreme Court on Friday stripped away the nation's constitutional protections for abortion that had stood for nearly a half-century.
Indiana was not one of the 13 states with trigger laws already in place, which are laws on the books that allow an abortion ban to go into effect immediately or in short order after Roe was overturned.
For Indiana, stricter abortion laws are still very possible, according to the pro-abortion rights think tank the Guttmacher Institute. The Institute has Indiana listed as one of four states expected to try banning abortion now that Roe has been overturned.
Despite Friday's ruling, both sides predicted the fight over abortion would continue, in state capitals, in Washington and at the ballot box. And as was expected, thousands of Hoosiers on both sides of the abortion debate were at the statehouse Saturday.
Abortion-rights advocates surrounded the steps of the statehouse to urge lawmakers to preserve women’s access to reproductive healthcare. At the same time, a group on the opposite side of the statehouse grounds called for lawmakers to make abortion legal in Indiana.
Both groups eventually found each other and clashed with words and emotions. While things got heated, the situation remained largely peaceful.
State troopers were keeping watch and, as the rally went on, chaos grew. Eventually, state police formed a protective line in front of those speaking at the podium.
The scene was chaotic, filled with heated debate, praise songs, prayers, chants and curses.
Reactions from Indiana's leadership to the Supreme Court's decision on Friday were swift.
Gov. Eric Holcomb quickly issued a statement and said state leaders will consider tightening Indiana's abortion laws during a special legislative session that starts July 6.
Holcomb's statement can be read here:
"The Supreme Court's decision is clear, and it is now up to the states to address this important issue. We’ll do that in short order in Indiana. I’ve already called the General Assembly back on July 6, and I expect members to take up this matter as well.
I have been clear in stating I am pro-life. We have an opportunity to make progress in protecting the sanctity of life, and that’s exactly what we will do."
Holcomb initially called the special session to discuss his plan to return funds from the state reserves to Hoosier taxpayers. Now lawmakers will also address abortion in Indiana, which currently is legal before 22 weeks.