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Biden administration condemns Indiana’s new ban on abortion: ‘A devastating step’.

Click to play video: 'Biden signs executive order aimed at easing costs for out-of-state abortions'

U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday with the aim of making it easier to travel out-of-state to obtain an abortion, including through the use of waivers that would allow states where abortion is legal to cover the cost of the procedure under Medicaid. The order would also enforce federal non-discrimination laws for those seeking the procedure.

The administration of President Joe Biden on Saturday condemned Indiana’s new ban on abortions, 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. “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.

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.”

The state Senate approved the ban 28-19 and the Indiana House advanced it 62-38. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the ban into law late Friday night.

Some senators in both parties lamented the bill’s provisions and the impact it would have on the state, including low-income women and the health care system. Eight Republicans joined all 11 Democrats in voting against the bill, though their reasons to thwart the measure were mixed.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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