Variety of People
Indy Protest Photo

of Hoosiers believe individuals should have the freedom to decide if and when to have children.1 The majority of Indiana believes that includes equal access to abortion. It may not feel like that with all the misinformation out there, but it’s true.

Then you’re ready to speak up for the majority of Hoosiers.

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That’s okay. There’s a lot to think about.

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There’s a lot to this issue you may not know

Why Does It Matter?
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78% of Hoosiers

believe that when someone decides to have an abortion it should be safe. Everyone should be able to get the health care they need—without politicians interfering in medical decisions.

Who Does it Affect?
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3 out of 5 Hoosiers

know someone who’s had an abortion, which isn’t surprising.2 Nearly one in four U.S. women will have an abortion in her lifetime.3

What's at Stake?
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Only 14% of Hoosiers

want to ban abortion entirely, but the Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade any moment. Your voice matters. 

Let’s address some common misconceptions and misinformation

Myth

Abortion is physically and mentally harmful to women.

Fact

Abortions, like other reproductive health procedures, are safe.

They have significantly fewer poor outcomes than your average colonoscopy—a similarly routine outpatient procedure. Medication abortions have even safer outcomes while being 94–98% effective before 8 weeks and 94–96% after 8 weeks.4 And getting an abortion does not increase a pregnant person’s risk of depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder.5 It also doesn’t increase the risk of breast cancer.6

But the mental and physical safety of abortion alone isn’t all this is about. We have to consider the safety of the alternative: requiring pregnant people to continue a pregnancy against their will. Being denied an abortion leads to a higher risk of serious complications during their pregnancy, it increases the likelihood of anxiety and staying tethered to abusive partners.7

On top of that, the maternal mortality rate for Indiana is the third worst in the nation,8 and as in so many areas related to healthcare, Black and Brown people are particularly vulnerable to disparities in reproductive care. For every 100,000 births in Indiana, 42 white women and 53 Black women will die as a result. In the 33 Indiana counties that don’t have any hospitals with obstetrics care, that number increases to 76 deaths overall for every 100,000 births.9 Getting an abortion is a lot safer than giving birth in Indiana.

Hear Dr. Caitlin
Bernard's Take
Myth

Too many women use abortion as birth control. 

Fact

The choice to have an abortion is a deeply personal medical decision, one that often happens after talking to trusted family members and physicians.

There are lots of reasons a person might get an abortion, and we can’t judge another Hoosier’s decision when we haven’t walked in their shoes.

Using any family planning techniques, including contraception of all kinds and abortion care are all deeply personal medical decisions based on what’s right for that person, their family, and their life. Hoosiers should have the freedom to make these decisions without interference from the state.

Hear Dr. Tracey
Wilkinson's Take
Hear Dr. Caitlin
Bernard's Take
Myth

If abortion is outlawed, women will no longer receive abortions.

Fact

We know this isn’t true because it’s never been true. When governments make it harder to access abortion care, it disproportionately hurts people whose lives are already hard.

Women who can’t afford the added expense that hard-to-access care requires,  such as extra time off work or extra childcare, may not be able to receive timely care, may be forced to continue an unsafe or unwanted pregnancy, or may try to get an abortion in some unsafe way.

Outlawing abortion also means that women—especially rural, low-income, non-English speakers, or poorly educated people—will be at risk of being prosecuted for miscarriages or attempted abortions. A woman seeking medical care should not be treated as a criminal. It’s not an idle threat, it’s already happened.10

Hear Rabbi Brett
Krichiver's Take
Myth

Pro-choice advocates want abortion to be legal up to the moment the baby is delivered.

Fact

Abortions later in pregnancy are incredibly rare—less than 1% of all abortions,11 and happen when something has gone terribly wrong.

When the worst has happened in a pregnancy, the decision about what to do next should be between a woman, her family, and her physician—not dictated by politicians looking to spark outrage. The majority of Hoosiers trust medical experts, not politicians, to keep reproductive health care safe. Every pregnancy and every woman’s circumstances are different, and one-size-fits-all laws don’t work for every unique situation.

You should also know that the Supreme Court has set the standard that Americans have a right to abortion up to the point of viability, when a fetus can survive outside of the womb, which happens at about 24 weeks. In Indiana, abortions can be performed until 20 weeks postfertilization.12

Hear Dr. Caitlin
Bernard's Take
Myth

There are currently no restrictions on abortion.

Fact

Hoosiers agree that when someone decides to have an abortion, it should be safe.

The vast majority also agree that abortion care should be regulated by medical experts, not by politicians with political agendas.

But that’s not currently the case. Medical decisions are being hindered or even undermined by politics. As a result of years of targeted laws, doctors are now forced to read scripts written by politicians, carry out medically unnecessary ultrasounds, and follow regulations that don’t fit the recommendations of the Federal Drug Administration and other nationally recognized medical experts.13 Everyone should be able to get the health care they need, and certain politicians’ agendas shouldn’t dictate personal medical decisions.

SCOTUS has set the standard that Americans have a right to an abortion up to the point of viability, when a fetus can survive outside of the womb, which happens at about 24 weeks. In Indiana, abortions can be performed until 20 weeks postfertilization.

Hear Dr. Caitlin
Bernard's Take
Hear Dr. Tracey
Wilkinson's Take
Myth

Women already have equal access to abortion.

Fact

In the past decade, the Indiana legislature has enacted 55 abortion restrictions and bans.14

Politicians, not medical experts, design these regulations to be burdensome. And these burdens disproportionately affect Hoosiers who are low-income, non-native speakers, low education, or live in rural areas.

Abortion can’t be covered by normal insurance, making it an out-of-pocket cost. Laws about how wide the halls should be make it hard for clinics to keep their doors open, so there are fewer of them, farther away. Indiana, like many states, has a laundry list of these requirements on the books, targeting only abortion providers. They’re common enough that there’s a term for them: TRAP (Targeted Restrictions of Abortion Providers) laws.15 These laws make it hard for providers to offer abortions, even though the procedure is safer than many outpatient surgical procedures.

Indiana requires an 18-hour waiting period between state-mandated “counseling”16 and getting the procedure, forcing people to make two separate trips—double the time off work, double the childcare, double the transportation.

Not only is access to abortion unequal, the likelihood of needing one in the first place is similarly disproportionate. The more adversity you face in your life—like being low-income or a person of color—the more likely you are to experience an unintended pregnancy that may lead you to seek an abortion.17

Hear Dr. Caitlin
Bernard's Take
Myth

Abortion is murder.

Fact

Abortion is a matter of health care, not a criminal act.

Everyone should have the freedom to decide if and when to have children, and what’s best for them and their families. 

Being in charge of what happens to your own body is an essential part of our American, democratic society. All people, including pregnant people, should be able to get the health care they need without interference by state politicians.

Hear Rev. Patrick
Burke's Take
Hear Rabbi Brett
Krichiver's Take
Myth

Abortion is never necessary to save a woman’s life.

Fact

There are absolutely times when an abortion is medically necessary to save a pregnant person’s life.

If a pregnant person’s water breaks before 20 weeks the fetus won’t survive, and that person’s risk for a deadly infection increases significantly. If they get diagnosed with cancer and are pregnant, chemotherapy, a life-saving procedure, can’t be done unless they have an abortion. Placental abruption, where the placenta starts to separate from the uterus can be life-threatening, as can preeclampsia in early pregnancy. These are all worst-case scenarios, and while rare, in countries around the world where abortion is illegal they mean the death of the pregnant person.18

Hear Rabbi Brett
Krichiver's Take
Hear Dr. Caitlin
Bernard's Take
Myth

You can’t be “pro-choice” without being “pro-abortion?”

Fact

You can be a champion for your neighbors’ freedom to decide their own path without having had an abortion yourself.

You can support your fellow Hoosiers by advocating for policies that help lower the incidence of unintended pregnancies to begin with. You can demand that politicians stop twisting this issue to fit their own agendas. You can demand better healthcare options for women across the state. And you can do all that while not believing abortion is the right option for you, and your family, and where you are right now. That’s what the freedom to decide for yourself is all about.

Hear Dr. Tracey
Wilkinson's Take
Hear Rabbi Brett
Krichiver's Take
Myth

This isn’t relevant to me—I haven’t had an abortion and don’t know anyone else who has had one.

Fact

Whether you know their story or not, it’s pretty likely you do know someone who’s had an abortion—three in five Hoosiers do.

And across the United States, one in four women will have an abortion in her lifetime.19 They are people who were able to decide their own path in life, if and when to have children at the right time, with the right person. They’re our neighbors, cousins, coworkers and friends, even our mothers and grandmothers. Abortion care, family planning, and the access to all reproductive health shapes our families in ways we can’t always see on the surface.

Hear Rima
Shahid's Take
Hear Rabbi Brett
Krichiver's Take
01 /10

Know your rights

Only your healthcare provider can tell you, based on your circumstances, when and how you can access an abortion. Since Indiana is one of 26 states poised to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned, what’s legal could change quickly.

Here are some examples of what  abortion restrictions look like in Indiana right now:

  • Abortions can be legally obtained before 20 weeks postfertilization.
  • The parent of a minor must consent before an abortion is provided, or the minor must petition a judge for an exception.
  • Insurance will cover abortion only in limited cases, in cases of dire health consequences, rape, or incest, for example. Additional abortion coverage riders are available through private insurers. 
  • A patient must receive state-directed “counseling,” through their healthcare provider, which includes information designed by politicians to discourage having an abortion, and then wait 18 hours before the procedure is provided. Counseling must be provided in person, by their care provider, and must take place before the waiting period begins, requiring two trips to the facility to get an abortion.

What's in the courts right now

TRAP Law: Method Ban

Caitlin Bernard, M.D. v. Individual Members of the Indiana Medical Licensing Board; and The Marion County Prosecutor (April ‘19)
This case challenges HEA 1211, which attempts to ban the most common form of abortion used after the first trimester, dilation and evacuation. This method of abortion is used because of its proven record through years of research and medical practice as a safe and effective medical procedure.

Status: The Court entered a preliminary injunction blocking the law and the matter will proceed.
THIS LAW WAS BLOCKED IN COURT AND IS CURRENTLY NOT IN EFFECT.

TRAP Law: Provider Requirements

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Inc. v. Commissioner, Indiana State Department of Health
(April ‘18)

This case challenges provisions of SEA 340, which requires medical providers to report “all abortion complications.” Additionally, the law requires that abortion clinics be inspected annually for licensure, as opposed to hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers that can be inspected every other year. The law violates due process and equal protection by singling out abortion providers and requiring invasive reporting that has nothing to do with protecting women’s health.

Status: A preliminary injunction was entered and PPINK was awarded summary judgment. The State appealed and the Court of Appeals ruled in the State’s favor, vacating the prior order. The case is currently being briefed again at the district court.
THIS LAW IS CURRENTLY IN EFFECT.

Restrictions on Minors

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Inc. v. Commissioner, Indiana State Department of Health
(May ‘17)

This case challenges portions of SEA 404 which would amend Indiana law to provide that, in a bypass proceeding where a minor can seek judicial permission to obtain an abortion without parental consent, the court can order that notice be provided to the parent.

Status: SCOTUS remanded the case back to the Seventh Circuit for reconsideration in light of June Medical Services and the Seventh Circuit upheld the block. The State again sought SCOTUS review and is awaiting a decision on whether it will review the case.
THESE PROVISION WERE BLOCKED IN COURT AND ARE CURRENTLY NOT IN EFFECT.

TRAP Law: Forcing Providers to Present Misinformation

All-Options v. Attorney General of Indiana (‘21)
A federal district court blocked an Indiana measure forcing health care providers to share false and misleading information with their patients about “reversing” a medication abortion, a false claim that may lead some patients to end a pregnancy based on the mistaken belief that its effects can later be undone. The case is currently scheduled for trial in August 2023.

AN INJUNCTION WAS GRANTED AND THESE RESTRICTIONS ARE CURRENTLY NOT IN EFFECT.

SCOTUS: Ban on Abortion After 15 Weeks

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization
The case centers on a 2018 Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks. The law makes no exception for rape or incest and punishes doctors who do not follow its guidelines. The Supreme Court heard oral argument in December, and will issue a decision sometime before the end of the Supreme Court Session at the end of June 2022.

The Supreme Court’s decision could decimate, if not take away entirely, the constitutional right to abortion. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Mississippi, it will take the decision about whether to have an abortion away from individuals and hand it over to politicians.

 

Indiana State Capitol Image

Speak up and take action

Here’s what you can do to make a difference for every Hoosier.
01
Make your voice heard

Your voice matters right now! Make your opposition to an abortion ban in Indiana known to your elected officials. They work for you. Write to them here.

Send A Message
02
Talk to your people

Sincere conversations with people we trust and love are the best way to change opinions. We’ve got a conversation guide to help. 

Download
03
Spread the word

Share what you’ve learned, what you believe! It doesn’t feel like these are majority opinions because we don’t hear them as often. Become a squeaky wheel.

Social Shareable

It may not feel like it’s the majority opinion, because this issue gets used to score political points. But most Hoosiers believe equal access to abortion is important. SCOTUS could further undermine Roe v. Wade at any moment. I’m speaking up. #LetsTalkAboutAbortionIN

Social Shareable

Most Hoosiers believe we should all have the freedom to decide if and when to have children. That means access to the full range of reproductive health care—without politicians interfering. Are you with us? The time is now. #LetsTalkAboutAbortionIN

Social Shareable

We can’t know all the reasons someone might decide an abortion is right for them unless we’ve walked in their shoes. But when they do, it should be safe and legal. We should decide what’s right for ourselves and our family—not politicians. #LetsTalkAboutAbortionIN

Download the full social toolkit here.

Download
04
Share your own story

Your story is important—it might be the thing that changes someone’s mind. If you’ve had an abortion you can share your story anonymously or not—we appreciate it either way. Share it here.

05
Vote for your rights

This issue is being used by politicians serving their own agenda over the needs of their constituents. Your vote is your voice in this. Find out who represents you here and their voting record here

Check our Work

There’s a lot of misleading information out there about abortion. Some of it uses citations, but cherry pick, misconstrue, or twist the meaning. We aren’t doing that here. Below are the facts we relied on for this guide, where we got them, and links to see them for yourself. Check it out.

  1. Lake Research Partners: findings from a statewide phone survey of Indiana voters in 2020, commissioned by the ACLU of Indiana. These results reflected similar polling done in Indiana and at a national level. Midwest Gallup—51% of people in the Midwest agree abortion should be legal in all or most cases. National Gallup—80% of people across the country agree abortion should be legal in all or some circumstances.
  2. Lake Research Partners: findings from a statewide phone survey of Indiana voters in 2020, commissioned by the ACLU of Indiana. These results reflected similar polling done in Indiana and at a national level. Ball State University Hoosier Survey—only 17% of Hoosiers think abortion should be banned.
  3. Guttmacher Institute: Abortion is a safe and common medical procedure. By age 20, 4.6% of women will have had an abortion, and 19% will have done so by age 30.
  4. Kaiser Family Foundation: “Medication abortion is a safe and highly effective method of pregnancy termination if the pills are administered at 9 weeks’ ge­­station or less, the pregnancy is terminated successfully 99.6% of the time, with a 0.4% risk of major complications, and an associated mortality rate of less than 0.001 percent (0.00064%).”
  5. American Psychological Association: A review of the scientific literature conducted by an APA task force and released in 2008 indicated that the relative risk of mental health problems following a single elective first-trimester abortion of is no greater risk to mental health than carrying that pregnancy to term.
  6. American Cancer Society: Scientific research studies show that medication abortions and medical abortions are not linked to increased risk of breast cancer.
  7. Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health: Women who were denied an abortion and gave birth reported more life-threatening complications like eclampsia and postpartum hemorrhage compared to those who received wanted abortions. In this study, the higher risks of childbirth were tragically demonstrated by two women who were denied an abortion and died following delivery, while no women died from an abortion.
  8.  America’s Health Rankings: Indiana ranks 35th out of 50 states in the health of women and children in the state—especially because of our high maternal mortality, household smoking, and high neonatal mortality rate
  9.  “Joy in Jeopardy”: The Indianapolis Star investigated why it’s so dangerous for women to give birth in Indiana and found a number of alarming risk factors for Hoosiers—including obstetric deserts that affect more than 650,000 people in 33 counties without any obstetric care at all. Women in these counties have significant obstacles to overcome to receive the care needed for safe pregnancies and deliveries, like consistent prenatal care and proximity to emergency care. These challenges are worse for women of color.
  10. The Indianapolis Star: Purvi Patel was convicted of feticide in 2015, receiving a 20-year sentence. Her case was vacated in 2016. The Indiana Court of Appeals decision that overturned her conviction suggested that the law wasn’t meant to be applied against the women whose fetuses were involved, but the statute, nonetheless, opens the door for the state to prosecute women for doing anything that might harm a fetus—even smoking or drinking.
  11. Guttmacher Institute: Indiana law prohibits abortion after 20 weeks postfertilization/22 weeks after the last menstrual period only in cases of threats to the  life or severely compromised physical health of the pregnant person. This law is based on the assertion, which is inconsistent with scientific evidence and has been rejected by the medical community, that a fetus can feel pain at that point in pregnancy.
  12. Center for Disease Control and Prevention: In 2019, less than 1% of abortions happened after 21 weeks, and only 6.2% happened between 13 and 20 weeks, and 92.7% happened before 13 weeks.
  13. Kaiser Family Foundation: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA suspended its requirement for in-person dispensing of the pills for medication abortions—enabling women to receive the pills in the mail and avoid spreading COVID. Because the FDA considers mailing these medications to be safe, it is considering lifting these requirements permanently. However, state lawmakers continue to put restrictions on this very common form of abortion, counter to the science.
  14. Guttmacher Institute: Guttmacher tracks the restrictions passed in legislation across the country.
  15. Guttmacher Institute: TRAP laws are all designed by politicians to be burdensome, forcing abortion providers to close their doors because it becomes too expensive or challenging to provide this service. These laws use the language of safety and concern for better outcomes, but medical experts already ensure high safety standards for medical facilities and providers without these overly restrictive standards.
  16. Indiana Informed Consent: 18 hours before an abortion procedure, abortion providers are required to provide a brochure and counseling to anyone who wants an abortion. This brochure contains misleading information For example, it uses references to link abortion to infertility risks, but the reference says outright that “Generally, elective abortion isn’t thought to cause fertility issues or complications in future pregnancies.” At the very end of the brochure it states “This brochure was created to provide general information about abortion and should not be considered legal, medical, or other professional advice,” because it was written to meet the needs of politicians, not the people seeking health care.
  17. American Psychological Association: Research indicates that women living in poverty, low-income women, and women of color are more likely than others to experience cumulative adversity and are at increased risk for unintended pregnancy.
  18. Human Rights Watch: In countries across Latin America, we see women, even children, dying because they can’t access abortion care.
  19. Guttmacher Institute: Abortion is a safe and common medical procedure. By age 20, 4.6% of women will have had an abortion, and 19% will have done so by age 30.
See our sources
  1. Lake Research Partners: findings from a statewide phone survey of Indiana voters in 2020, commissioned by the ACLU of Indiana. These results reflected similar polling done in Indiana and at a national level. Midwest Gallup—51% of people in the Midwest agree abortion should be legal in all or most cases. National Gallup—80% of people across the country agree abortion should be legal in all or some circumstances.
  2. Lake Research Partners: findings from a statewide phone survey of Indiana voters in 2020, commissioned by the ACLU of Indiana. These results reflected similar polling done in Indiana and at a national level. Ball State University Hoosier Survey—only 17% of Hoosiers think abortion should be banned.
  3. Guttmacher Institute: Abortion is a safe and common medical procedure. By age 20, 4.6% of women will have had an abortion, and 19% will have done so by age 30.
  4. Kaiser Family Foundation: “Medication abortion is a safe and highly effective method of pregnancy termination if the pills are administered at 9 weeks’ ge­­station or less, the pregnancy is terminated successfully 99.6% of the time, with a 0.4% risk of major complications, and an associated mortality rate of less than 0.001 percent (0.00064%).”
  5. American Psychological Association: A review of the scientific literature conducted by an APA task force and released in 2008 indicated that the relative risk of mental health problems following a single elective first-trimester abortion of is no greater risk to mental health than carrying that pregnancy to term.
  6. American Cancer Society: Scientific research studies show that medication abortions and medical abortions are not linked to increased risk of breast cancer.
  7. Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health: Women who were denied an abortion and gave birth reported more life-threatening complications like eclampsia and postpartum hemorrhage compared to those who received wanted abortions. In this study, the higher risks of childbirth were tragically demonstrated by two women who were denied an abortion and died following delivery, while no women died from an abortion.
  8.  America’s Health Rankings: Indiana ranks 35th out of 50 states in the health of women and children in the state—especially because of our high maternal mortality, household smoking, and high neonatal mortality rate
  9.  “Joy in Jeopardy”: The Indianapolis Star investigated why it’s so dangerous for women to give birth in Indiana and found a number of alarming risk factors for Hoosiers—including obstetric deserts that affect more than 650,000 people in 33 counties without any obstetric care at all. Women in these counties have significant obstacles to overcome to receive the care needed for safe pregnancies and deliveries, like consistent prenatal care and proximity to emergency care. These challenges are worse for women of color.
  10. The Indianapolis Star: Purvi Patel was convicted of feticide in 2015, receiving a 20-year sentence. Her case was vacated in 2016. The Indiana Court of Appeals decision that overturned her conviction suggested that the law wasn’t meant to be applied against the women whose fetuses were involved, but the statute, nonetheless, opens the door for the state to prosecute women for doing anything that might harm a fetus—even smoking or drinking.
  11. Guttmacher Institute: Indiana law prohibits abortion after 20 weeks postfertilization/22 weeks after the last menstrual period only in cases of threats to the  life or severely compromised physical health of the pregnant person. This law is based on the assertion, which is inconsistent with scientific evidence and has been rejected by the medical community, that a fetus can feel pain at that point in pregnancy.
  12. Center for Disease Control and Prevention: In 2019, less than 1% of abortions happened after 21 weeks, and only 6.2% happened between 13 and 20 weeks, and 92.7% happened before 13 weeks.
  13. Kaiser Family Foundation: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA suspended its requirement for in-person dispensing of the pills for medication abortions—enabling women to receive the pills in the mail and avoid spreading COVID. Because the FDA considers mailing these medications to be safe, it is considering lifting these requirements permanently. However, state lawmakers continue to put restrictions on this very common form of abortion, counter to the science.
  14. Guttmacher Institute: Guttmacher tracks the restrictions passed in legislation across the country.
  15. Guttmacher Institute: TRAP laws are all designed by politicians to be burdensome, forcing abortion providers to close their doors because it becomes too expensive or challenging to provide this service. These laws use the language of safety and concern for better outcomes, but medical experts already ensure high safety standards for medical facilities and providers without these overly restrictive standards.
  16. Indiana Informed Consent: 18 hours before an abortion procedure, abortion providers are required to provide a brochure and counseling to anyone who wants an abortion. This brochure contains misleading information For example, it uses references to link abortion to infertility risks, but the reference says outright that “Generally, elective abortion isn’t thought to cause fertility issues or complications in future pregnancies.” At the very end of the brochure it states “This brochure was created to provide general information about abortion and should not be considered legal, medical, or other professional advice,” because it was written to meet the needs of politicians, not the people seeking health care.
  17. American Psychological Association: Research indicates that women living in poverty, low-income women, and women of color are more likely than others to experience cumulative adversity and are at increased risk for unintended pregnancy.
  18. Human Rights Watch: In countries across Latin America, we see women, even children, dying because they can’t access abortion care.
  19. Guttmacher Institute: Abortion is a safe and common medical procedure. By age 20, 4.6% of women will have had an abortion, and 19% will have done so by age 30.