Thousands of people arguing the abortion issue surrounded the Indiana Statehouse and filled its corridors Monday as state lawmakers began consideration of a Republican proposal to ban nearly all abortions in the state and Vice President Kamala Harris denounced the effort during a meeting with Democratic legislators, the Associated Press reports. Harris said during a trip to Indianapolis that the abortion ban proposal reflects a health care crisis in the country. Despite the bill’s abortion ban language, anti-abortion activists lined up before a legislative committee to argue that the bill wasn’t strict enough and lacked enforcement teeth. Indiana is one of the first Republican-run state legislatures to debate tighter abortion laws following the U.S. Supreme Court decision last month overturning Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.
Confrontations erupted periodically between anti-abortion and abortion-rights demonstrators around the Indiana Statehouse. One person carrying a message on cardboard — “Forced Birth Is Violence” — followed a man, who carried a fake red fetus in a plastic bag over his shoulder, and tried to obscure his sign that read “Save Our Babies.” Elsewhere Monday, Lawmakers in West Virginia’s Republican majority hurried to advance legislation that would criminalize abortion with few exceptions. A bill introduced Monday makes providing an abortion a felony carrying up to 10 years in prison. It provides exceptions only in cases where there is an ectopic pregnancy, a “nonmedically viable fetus” or a medical emergency.