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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana House on Friday passed a bill that would ban nearly all abortions in the state, sending the legislation back to the state Senate to confer on House changes.

House members advanced the near-total abortion ban 62-38 with limited exceptions, including in cases of rape and incest, and to protect the life and physical health of the mother.

The measure now goes to the Senate. If approved as is, Indiana lawmakers will become the first in the nation to pass new legislation restricting access to abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June removing its protected status as a constitutional right. The measure then would go to Gov. Eric Holcomb, who has not indicated whether he would sign it.

Republican Rep. Wendy McNamara of Evansville, who sponsored the bill, said the legislation “reflects an understanding that this is one of the most difficult and contentious issues of our lifetime.”

Outside the House chamber Friday, abortion-rights activists chanted over lawmakers’ remarks, carrying signs like “Roe roe roe your vote” and “Build this wall” between church and state. Some House Democrats wore blazers over pink “Bans Off Our Bodies” T-shirts.

The House version of the ban added exceptions for protecting the health and life of the mother after frequent requests from doctors and others who testified last week before a Senate committee. It also allows abortions if a fetus is diagnosed with a lethal anomaly.

The bill additionally removes the Senate-approved time frames based on age for abortions in cases of rape or incest — up to 12 weeks for those under 16 and eight weeks for those 16 and older. It instead creates a blanket ban after 10 weeks post-fertilization on abortions in cases of rape and incest. Victims would not be required to sign a notarized affidavit attesting to an attack.

Friday’s vote came about one week after the Republican-controlled Senate narrowly passed its ban with similar measures. State senators could consider the House-endorsed abortion ban Friday afternoon, when further changes are possible.

House and Senate legislators listened to hours of testimony over the past two weeks, when residents on all sides of the issue rarely, if ever, supported the legislation. Opposition from abortion-rights supporters said the bill goes too far while anti-abortion activists expressed it doesn’t go far enough.

Indiana was among the first Republican-run state legislatures to debate tighter abortion laws after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The proposed ban also came after the political firestorm over a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled to the state from neighboring Ohio to end her pregnancy. The case gained wide attention when an Indianapolis doctor said the child came to Indiana because of Ohio’s “fetal heartbeat” ban.

Democratic Rep. Maureen Bauer spoke tearfully about the people in her South Bend district who oppose the bill — the husbands standing behind their wives, the fathers supporting their daughters — as well as the women “who are demanding that we are seen as equal.”

Bauer’s comments were followed by raucous cheers from hallway protesters and quickly subdued applause from fellow Democrats.

“You may not have thought that these women would show up,” Bauer said. “Maybe you thought we wouldn’t be paying attention.”

West Virginia legislators on July 29 passed up the chance to be the first state with a unified ban after its House of Delegates refused to concur with Senate amendments that removed criminal penalties for physicians who perform illegal abortions. Delegates instead asked for a conference committee to consider the details between the bills.

The debates come amid an evolving landscape of abortion politics across the country as Republicans face party divisions and Democrats see a possible election-year boost.

The Indiana House vote further illustrated a deeply divided chamber, which formerly defeated an amendment that would have removed exceptions for rape and incest. A majority of GOP members wanted their removal.

The House vote and lawmakers’ discussions displayed a similar division seen in the Senate over those same exceptions, which remained in the Senate bill when an attempt among senators last week failed.

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Arleigh Rodgers is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/arleighrodgers

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Find AP’s full coverage of the overturning of Roe v. Wade at: https://apnews.com/hub/abortion

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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Arizona attorney general race to have big impact on abortion rules, election claims

A typically low-key race for Arizona attorney general is set to take on a newfound sense of importance after Republicans chose a political novice turned right-wing firebrand as the party’s nominee in Tuesday’s primary.

Abraham Hamadeh, who campaigned on a staunchly conservative platform and received former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, handily defeated a slate of more experienced candidates, including a former Arizona Supreme Court justice, to secure the Republican nomination to be the Grand Canyon State’s chief legal officer. He won the primary largely by closely allying himself with the former president, soundly rejecting the centrist, business-friendly image long associated with Arizona Republicans, and staking out hard-line positions on abortion, elections, and voting rules, among other topics popular with the GOP’s base.

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But Hamadeh’s rapid political rise has alarmed Democrats, who see him as committed to reinstating historical abortion bans, including a strict 1864 law that would allow abortion doctors to be prosecuted with prison time, while also pursuing legislative and legal efforts to call the 2020 election’s legitimacy into question. While Mark Brnovich, the incumbent Republican attorney general who lost his primary for Arizona's open Senate seat on Tuesday, has already begun efforts to reinstate the 1864 law and other historical abortion restrictions in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, he has been an opponent of efforts to question the 2020 election and incurred Trump’s wrath for refusing to aid the former president’s efforts to have Arizona’s election results overturned.

Hamadeh, on the other hand, has firmly aligned himself with Kari Lake and Mark Finchem, the Arizona GOP’s hard-right nominees for governor and secretary of state, respectively, who have both repeatedly rejected the results of the 2020 election. He has also pledged to “prosecute the crimes of the rigged 2020 election” if elected and has seemingly endorsed efforts to “decertify” his state’s 2020 presidential electors. While it’s highly unlikely that Hamadeh will be able to follow through on any pledge to prosecute election officials or “decertify” 2020 electors even if elected, his highly controversial views have transformed the general election into an uncompromising ideological contest that will leave voters with two wildly divergent choices at the ballot box, and is set to have hugely significant implications for law enforcement in Arizona.

Hamadeh, a former Maricopa County prosecutor and Army intelligence officer, will face Democrat Kris Mayes in November’s general election. Mayes won the Democratic nomination uncontested on Tuesday after state Democrats coalesced behind her candidacy. It’s difficult to underscore how different Mayes, a former chairwoman of the Arizona Corporation Commission, is in both style and substance to Hamadeh. In contrast to Hamadeh, who backs restricting abortion from conception, Mayes has alleged that the right to abortion is protected under Arizona’s state constitution, has rejected Gov. Doug Ducey’s recently enacted 15-week abortion ban, and has claimed that prosecuting abortion doctors under the 1864 statute would be “unconstitutional.”

Mayes has also argued that the general election would be tantamount to a referendum on “democracy,” citing Hamadeh’s support for curbing mail-in voting and his unevidenced theories about the 2020 election. She has even said that, if elected, she would refuse to enforce duly enacted state laws restricting abortion.

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While much of Arizona’s attention is fixed on headline-dominating contests at the top of the ticket, the race for attorney general is sure to have an outsize impact on the direction that the state takes on a series of controversial issues, abortion and elections chief among them. And the race for Arizona attorney general is just one of several high-profile examples of how the comparatively centrist, congenial, deal-making attitudes along the lines of Ducey and Sen. John McCain that once defined statewide politics in the Grand Canyon State are nowhere to be found, at least for now.

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