(Indianapolis, IN) - A special session of the Indiana General Assembly that was supposed to have started Wednesday was pushed back to the 25th. However, Republican lawmakers are meeting anyway to plan their strategy on the prickly topic of abortion.
Republicans, who enjoy a legislative supermajority in Indiana, are mostly pro-life, but the devil is in the details. State Representative Jim Pressel of Rolling Prairie says he and his colleagues are caucusing now to hash out those details, which are complicated, to say the least.
“It’s not as simple as just being pro-life,” Pressel said. “There are the exceptions. Is it 100% ban? Is it no ban? Is it life of the mother? Is it exceptions for rape and incest?” Rape, for example, is a complicated exception, especially since lawmakers just expanded the definition of the crime. “Is it a conviction? Is it an accusation?” Pressel explained. “What does that really mean, and what’s the time frame on that?” Pressel said legislators are going to be very careful about where they draw the line, but he doesn’t know where that will be.
Pressel wants as much transparency in the process as possible. “I, for one, want this to go through the whole process,” he said. “So this isn’t going to be a speedy thing. Anybody that wants to testify at the Statehouse is more than welcome to come down. Nobody will be turned away, so everybody’s voice gets heard.”
Pressel said he also hopes to have some sort of public forum in the near future to hear from his constituency. “We’re going to try to do some kind of a listening tour, not really a debate,” he emphasized, “but I’d like to be able to hear from folks within the district and just get their sense of what they’d like.”
In the meantime, Republican lawmakers will spend the next couple of weeks trying to get a handle on where they stand on the issue.