By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS - Despite opposition from state and national Right to Life, the Indiana Senate passed a deeply unpopular SB1 that would further restrict abortion, but with exemptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.

By a 26-20 vote, the Senate send this historic bill to the Indiana House.

State Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange, started Saturday's debate by saying, "All of us have strived to make this bill better throughout the process." She says she's confident the House will continue to make changes. Asked by Sen. Shelli Yoder, D-Bloomington, Glick said SB1 is "not a forced pregnancy bill."

Asked by State Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, if she's happy with the bill, Glick responded, "Not particularly." After more than two and a half hours of debate, Glick was the only senator who testified in favor of the bill. 

State Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, said the bill went against "everything the Republican Party stands for. This bill doesn't make anything better; it makes things worse. SB1 removes vital health care from 52% of the state's population." She predicted "unintended consequences from ignorance."

Becker added that a Senate of 42 men and eight women is "arrogantly dictating" how doctors should deliver health care. Are we meeting the medical needs of the people we represent with this legislation? No, we're just making a mess."

Indiana Democrats voted against the bill, joined by nine Republicans. "This is a papa state. This isn't government," said Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson. "This is the male-dominated government saying to women, 'You lose your choice.'"

Yoder described her own decision as a 34-year-old woman who took weeks to decide not to get an abortion 18 years ago. She called SB1 "draconian, discompassionate and the result of unchecked power, ego and hubris." She said the bill was about state "control" of women. 

The bill seemed to be hanging by a thread on Friday after Indiana and U.S. Right to Life groups urged lawmakers to defeat the bill. Indiana RTL CEO Mike Fichter said on Friday, “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."

Jim Bopp Jr., general counsel to the National Right to Life, added, "SB 1 contains vague language and ill-defined terms which would actually protect abortion instead of protecting unborn children. SB 1 also would undermine existing protections for unborn children with disabilities. The pro-life movement calls upon pro-life legislators in the Indiana legislature to reject this travesty of a bill."

State Sen. Mike Young, R-Indianapolis who left the Republican caucus earlier this week, said, "I know this will b e the toughest position we’ll take in our lives. I’m voting no, not because I argee with the other side. I just don’t agree with this bill." Young added, "The bill wouldn’t be up here if there weren’t the votes."

State Sen. Kyle Walker, R-Lawrence, said he’s voting no on this bill, saying he doesn’t think this is a "black or white issue." He stressed the need for a more "balanced" approach.

State Sen. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis, described SB1 as "an attack on women," saying, "Senate Bill 1 strips women of the right to choose when and if they will have children. It seems like an attack on womanhood. Some will rejoice. But I will hang my head in shame and sorrow if this bill passes into law. This bill forces pregnant women to give birth if not result of rape or incest. Roe never forced anyone to do anything.” 

State Sen. David Niezgodski, D-South Bend, drew the distinction between being "pro-choice and pro-abortion" saying, "I am pro-choice, not pro-abortion. I don't want women to have abortions. But as a man, I cannot possibly imagine what a women goes through when she faces a pregnancy she's not prepared for or was forced upon her by rape/incest."

Indiana Democrat Executive Director Lauren Ganapini reacted, saying, “Hoosiers need to be on high alert because Senate Bill 1 in this form would be disrespectful to the majority of voters who told Republicans in their own polling that they wanted to keep the state laws as is – and that’s protecting a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body. Taking away this right, the ability for local governments to protect their constituents, and forcing survivors of rape and incest - even children - to notarize a sign affidavit just to obtain an abortion is extreme."