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Indiana abortion debate draws protesters and Harris

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Thousands of feuding over abortion rights surrounded the Indiana Capitol and filled its halls Monday as state lawmakers began considering a Republican proposal to ban nearly all abortions in the state. US Vice President Kamala Harris criticized that effort during a meeting with Democratic lawmakers.

On his trip to Indiana, Harris pointed out that the proposal to ban abortion is a reflection of the health crisis in the country. Despite the fact that the bill prohibits termination of pregnancy, anti-abortion activists went before a legislative committee to argue that the rule was not strict enough and lacked enforcement force.

Indiana is one of the first GOP -led state legislatures to debate toughening abortion laws after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month. The decision of the high court is expected to lead almost half of the states in the country to ban abortion.

“Maybe some people need to learn how a woman’s body really works,” Harris said Monday, drawing murmurs and laughter from Democratic lawmakers. who realize they are pregnant will be de facto barred from access to reproductive health care that allows them to choose what happens to their bodies.

Clashes between pro- and anti-abortion protesters erupted periodically around the state Capitol. A person holding a sign reading “Forced childbirth is violence” followed a man carrying a fake red fetus in a plastic bag over his shoulder and tried to hide his sign, which read “Save our babies ”.

Meanwhile, Republican-majority lawmakers in West Virginia were racing to advance a bill that would criminalize abortion with few exceptions. A bill introduced Monday makes the practice of an abortion a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. It only provides for exceptions in the case of an ectopic pregnancy, a “medically non-viable fetus” or a medical emergency.

State Gov. Jim Justice has suddenly added the abortion law to the state Legislature’s agenda for a special session he called Monday focused on his tax cut plan.

In her announcement, Justice called on lawmakers to “clarify and modernize” the state’s termination of pregnancy law following the US Supreme Court’s decision. A week ago, a Charleston judge blocked enforcement of the 150-year-old state law, saying laws recently enacted by the state Legislature “conflict with the criminal criminalization of abortion.”

In Tennessee, the state Attorney General’s office said it is unknown when the new state law will take effect, but some lawmakers are warning that the new text does not provide exceptions for victims of rape or incest.

Tennessee has been limiting pregnancy termination to the sixth week of gestation — when most women don’t even know they’re pregnant — since the Supreme Court decision. Last week, its governor, Republican Bill Lee, refused to answer questions from reporters about whether he was in favor of tightening the regulations and especially avoided those related to the exemption for pregnant minors after being victims of rape.

In Wyoming, a lawsuit filed Monday by a Casper women’s health clinic and others seeks to block the state’s new abortion law just before it goes into effect. The complaint alleges that the new regulation violates the state constitution with restrictions that will discourage seeking potentially life-saving health care for pregnancies in Wyoming, forcing women to go to other states to undergo necessary procedures.

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