Elected officials and candidates running for office representing Hamilton County are encouraging Hoosiers to voice their support for pro-choice rights when the state Legislature convenes for a special session later this month.
More than 75 people turned out in solidarity July 2 during a rally organized by the Hamilton County Democratic Party inside Holy Family Episcopal Church in Fishers that featured candidates running for state and federal offices. The event was designed to create an atmosphere for individuals who are concerned about issues to be addressed during the special session scheduled for July 25, said Dayna Colbert, Hamilton County Democratic Party chair.
Concerns from those in attendance follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the constitutional right to an abortion, leaving it up to states to decide how to deal with procedures. The special session in Indiana is expected to “take action to protect life,” according to Republicans, although it remains unclear what restrictions or possible legislation could be discussed by lawmakers.
Colbert said it is important for people to rally at the Indiana Statehouse since that is where change occurs, adding that she feels individuals should have the right to make choices about their bodies regardless of whether they can or cannot carry children.
“We want to bring people together who also feel that way to have that choice and give them the tools to move forward and carry that message on,” Colbert said.
Colbert said the Hamilton County Democratic Party is concerned that the General Assembly has signaled support for banning abortion in Indiana, although to what extent remains unclear.
“We are concerned about our choices and our options in Indiana as well,” she said.
The rally brought together more than a half-dozen elected officials and candidates running for office, many of whom urged those in attendance to stand up and make their voices heard. Individuals in attendance seated at tables were also encouraged to make signs in preparation for the July 25 session outside the Statehouse.
Among those critical of Republicans at the state level was State Rep. Sue Errington, who said that decisions involving abortion should remain between a woman and her doctor.
“The Republicans have been screaming for an abortion ban for years,” Errington said.
Errington also told those in attendance that she promised to defend reproductive rights in Indiana, urging individuals to press elected officials for answers.
“Don’t let them dice up your question,” Errington said. “Make them answer.”
Jeannine Lee Lake, who is running for the U.S. House to represent Indiana’s 5th Congressional District against Republican incumbent Victoria Spartz in November, also appeared at the event wearing a shirt of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a slogan, “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.”
Fishers City Councilwoman Jocelyn Vare, who holds an at-large seat, is running for the Indiana Senate in District 31 and also said it’s important for people to get out and make their voices heard. Vare encouraged those in attendance to talk to their neighbors, saying Democrats are working hard for all Hoosiers.
“Hamilton County is a purple county and it’s time like we acted like it,” Vare said. “Please go to the Statehouse. That’s how you make your voice heard.”
Fishers resident Angie Lopez attended with her friend Monica Moehring. Both women said they were making plans to rally at the Statehouse later this month.
Lopez created a sign that said, “My body isn’t a ‘peach-tree dish’ for your government overreach” and described the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade as being “just ridiculous.”
“I never thought we would be here,” Lopez said. “I was dumbfounded.”
Victoria Garcia Wilburn, who is running for House District 32, is an occupational therapist and said she was concerned about what the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade means for women in Indiana. In Indiana, 33 counties don’t have an OB/GYN available, Wilburn said.
Wilburn described the recent Supreme Court decision as being “a complete overstep,” saying that abortion is a decision that needs to be made between a client and their provider.
“This is not a political decision,” she said.
Still, Wilburn said the turnout of people in attendance at the church indicated that issues such as abortion matter to voters and noted that the current supermajority is not in line to what matters to them.
She also asked individuals to remain energized moving forward, urging them to “fight the good fight.”
“You guys are an inspiration to all of us,” she said.