By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis
and MARK SCHOEFF JR., in Washington


1. RTL disses SB1

After an emotional and rancorous five-hour Senate session Thursday night, SB1 hangs by a thread after 18 Republicans voted against an amendment on excepting rape and incest, rejected by a 28-18 vote. It will be up for a vote on Saturday. This morning, Indiana Right to Life CEO Mike Fichter said his organization “remains opposed to SB1.”

Fichter: “While we are encouraged by the addition of language giving the attorney general the power to prosecute when illegal abortions occur, SB1 contains a vague life of the mother exception that will be easily exploited to cover most abortions. An amendment to help fix this problem was voted down last night, with the help of many Republican senators who previously indicated to voters on candidate surveys that they supported no exceptions, or a life of the mother exception only. SB1 lacks any requirement that claims of rape be reported to police, denying women the help they need while allowing perpetrators to escape justice and seek other victims. In addition, SB1 redefines abortion so that the intentional killing of a fully alive unborn child with severe disabilities will no longer be considered an abortion under Indiana law. This changing of definition will open the floodgates for funding of these types of procedures, while creating a bypass of Indiana’s ban on discriminatory abortions based solely on disability, and a bypass of Indiana’s ban on trafficking of aborted fetal body parts, all because the killing of these children will no longer be called abortions under the law. To anyone who might claim this is an abortion ban, we would simply point to the section of SB1 referencing new rules for existing and future abortion clinics in Indiana. We did not wait 50 years for the full reversal of Roe vs. Wade for this. We stand opposed to SB1.

What does this mean? If you’re a Senate Republican in a potentially competitive seat, Fichter essentially called off retribution in November. The RTL calculus could be to regroup for the long session in January as opposed to rushing SB1 into law over the next two weeks.

2. The 18 Republicans

These are the 18 Senate Republicans who voted against removing rape/incest exemption, which include both hardline pro-lifers, as well as Senate moderates like Sen. Kyle Walker who had proposed middle ground last week: Sen. Ron Alting of Lafayette; Sen. Scott Baldwin of Noblesville; Sen. Vaneta Becker, Evansville; Sen. Mike Bohacek, Michiana Shores; Sen. Phil Boots, Crawfordsville; Sen. Rodric Bray, Martinsville; Sen. Justin Busch, Fort Wayne; Sen. Ed Charbonneau, Valparaiso; Sen. Mike Crider, Greenfield; Sen. Jon Ford, Terre Haute; Sen. Aaron Freeman, Indianapolis; Sen. Chris Garten, Charlestown; Sen. Sue Glick, LaGrange; Sen. Travis Holdman, Markle; Sen. Jean Leising, Oldenburg; Sen. Mark Messmer, Jasper; Sen. Greg Walker, Columbus; and Sen. Kyle Walker, Lawrence. Some of the hardliners may end up voting for SB1 any way, reasoning that more abortions will occur between August and next April.

3. Glick says there’s a chance of punting

Associated Press: Sen. Sue Glick, the abortion bill’s sponsor, said she was “not exactly” happy with the proposal after the committee adding provisions under which doctors could face felony criminal charges for performing an illegal abortion, along with limiting the time period allowing abortions in cases of rape and incest to eight weeks of pregnancy for women ages 16 or older and 12 weeks for those younger than 16. Glick acknowledged this week that there was a chance Republicans wouldn’t be able to reach consensus before the special session’s Aug. 14 deadline to adjourn. “If we can’t reach that result, there is a statute in Indiana we’ll live with until it will change in the future,” Glick said Monday. “If that decision can’t be made in a week or two weeks’ time, then we’ll come back in January and start again.”

4. Crouch’s affidavit tie-breaker

The most dramatic moment came on an amendment authored by Sen. Liz Brown requiring rape and incest victims to get a notary-signed physician affidavit under penalty of perjury from a physician. Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch broke a 23-23 tie in a vote that could back to haunt her in a 2024 gubernatorial general election. It may be the most controversial LG tie-breaker since Richard O. Ristine’s 1963 vote that allowed for a state income tax, which subsequently ended his political career.

5. House approves Young’s Chips bill

As the House Thursday approved a $280 billion bill to promote the domestic semiconductor manufacturing and research to better compete with China, the Chips and Science Act, most of the Indiana delegation voted against it. The legislation was co-authored by GOP Sen. Todd Young, who led the effort get the measure over the finish line in the Senate on Wednesday, 64-33, with 17 Republicans on board. The House vote on Thursday was 243-187. The Indiana delegation, however, opposed the bill, 5-4. GOP Reps. Jim Banks, Jackie Walorski, Victoria Spartz, Larry Bucshon and Greg Pence opposed the bill. Republican Reps. Jim Baird and Trey Hollingsworth along with Democratic Reps. Frank Mrvan and Andre Carson voted in favor. 

Thanks for reading, folks. It’s The Atomic!