July 15, 2022

Reflection / Sean Gallagher

Pro-life Hoosiers need to be strong advocates for legislation in the coming weeks

Sean GallagherAs the Indiana General Assembly prepares to gather for a special session that will begin on July 25, pro-life Hoosiers need to keep clearly in mind what happened at the Statehouse in 2015.

In March of that year, the General Assembly passed Indiana’s version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The federal version of the law was passed easily by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Many other states across the country eventually followed suit. The law more clearly defines the freedom of the exercise of religion enshrined in the First Amendment.

But by the time that Indiana legislators considered RFRA, the political winds had changed decidedly. A law which had strong bipartisan support in Congress in 1993 was now seen—inaccurately—as a cover for bigotry as the move to legally redefine marriage to include couples of the same sex gained strength.

Soon after the General Assembly passed Indiana’s RFRA bill in March 2015, corporate business leaders throughout the state and across the country voiced their strong disapproval. Several boycotts of the state, led by corporations and state and local governments across the country, were launched.

About a week later, the General Assembly passed what was called “a fix” to the RFRA bill, with the result being that the firestorm of criticism of the state soon disappeared.

Might such a scenario happen again as the legislature considers the legal protection of unborn children and assistance to mothers in need?

Don’t be surprised if it does. Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in its June 24 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, large companies across the country lined up to proclaim that they would pay for female employees to travel to states to have the procedure where abortion remains legal.

Such a move is a triple win for big business. They maintain the productivity of their workers instead of giving them maternity leave. The financial cost-benefit analysis of abortion versus giving birth is definitely in favor of the former. It’s much less expensive for companies to pay for an abortion than to support pre-natal, labor and delivery care through its health insurance plans. And, to top it off, companies publicly declaring their support for abortion rights is a political and cultural win for them.

With the possibility in the coming weeks of corporate opposition to potential legislation restricting abortion in Indiana, pro-life Hoosiers need to let their voices be heard in the Statehouse.

State legislators need to know that legally protecting unborn children and assisting mothers in need is in the best interests of all Hoosiers—including those who lead businesses here.

It should not take much convincing to pass laws that promote justice for unborn children, the most vulnerable members of our society, and to protect them from lethal violence, as well as to assist their mothers before and after their children are born.

But if protecting religious liberty was so difficult in Indiana in 2015, then pro-life Hoosiers need to stand strong as ardent and untiring witnesses of the Gospel of life in the coming weeks.

To take action, see our article about two upcoming events and on how to use the ICAN service to contact legislators with pre-drafted, modifiable messages.

(Sean Gallagher is a reporter for The Criterion.)

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