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Large employers express opposition after Indiana approves abortion ban

Abortion-rights protesters fill Indiana Statehouse corridors and cheer outside legislative chambers, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, as lawmakers vote to concur on a near-total abortion ban, in Indianapolis.
Arleigh Rodgers
/
AP
Abortion-rights protesters fill Indiana Statehouse corridors and cheer outside legislative chambers, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, as lawmakers vote to concur on a near-total abortion ban, in Indianapolis.

Updated August 6, 2022 at 6:06 PM ET

Abortion-rights groups and at least two large employers expressed opposition after Republican Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a new abortion ban into law on Friday, set to take effect on Sept. 15.

The bill was passed by the state House 62-38 earlier in the day on Friday before the state Senate approved it 28-19 late Friday night.

The actions made Indiana the first state to pass new legislation for an abortion ban since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in late June. Other states have banned abortion since then, but have done so through existing trigger laws that were set to take effect once a decision striking Roe came down.

"Following the overturning of Roe, I stated clearly that I would be willing to support legislation that made progress in protecting life," Holcomb said in a statement. "In my view, [the bill] accomplishes this goal following its passage in both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly with a solid majority of support. These actions followed long days of hearings filled with sobering and personal testimony from citizens and elected representatives on this emotional and complex topic."

Abortion will soon be banned in the state, but there are some exceptions, including if a pregnant woman's life is at risk. There are also exceptions in the law for rape and incest and lethal fetal anomalies, though the law imposes a complicated process for performing abortions under these exceptions.

Doctors in the state who perform illegal abortions will lose their medical licenses.

Among the law's provisions, it will strip licenses from facilities that currently perform abortions that are not hospitals or outpatient clinics owned by hospitals.

The new law will make Indiana part of a block of states in the central U.S. where abortion is banned and force those seeking the procedure to travel farther.

Planned Parenthood called the legislation "an egregious attack on health care in Indiana," and noted that the group's facilities would not be able to provide abortions after it takes effect, even in the circumstance where exceptions are granted.

"The way Indiana lawmakers moved this bill, hastily and without regard for the people it will impact most, is cruel and out of touch," said Rebecca Gibron, CEO for Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky. "Governor Holcomb shut off his phones, cowering from his constituents, and signed their fates away to a future without bodily autonomy and access to fundamental health care."

Gibron said the organization "will continue the fight for a future that reinstates our right to safe and legal abortion care, for every Hoosier."

Large employers express concern

Companies within the state are already taking note of the law. The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has more than 10,000 employees in Indianapolis. The company said it is "concerned that this law will hinder Lilly's – and Indiana's – ability to attract diverse scientific, engineering and business talent from around the world," in a statement provided to NPR.

"While we have expanded our employee health plan coverage to include travel for reproductive services unavailable locally, that may not be enough for some current and potential employees."

The company said it will have to plan its future growth outside of Indiana, where it has been headquartered for more than 145 years.

Cummins, an engine manufacturing company headquartered in Columbus, Ind., has nearly 10,000 employees in the state. It has said it opposes the law.

"Cummins believes that women should have the right to make reproductive healthcare decisions as a matter of gender equity," spokesperson Jon Mills told NPR. "The right to make decisions regarding reproductive health ensures that women have the same opportunity as others to participate fully in our workforce and that our workforce is diverse."

Mills said parts of the law conflict with the company's beliefs and will "impede our ability to attract and retain top talent and influence our decisions as we continue to grow our footprint with a focus on selecting welcoming and inclusive environments."

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