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Indiana abortion rights groups plan more rallies, emphasize long-term strategy

A male pro-life supporter in a hat argues with a female pro-choice supporter outside the Indiana Statehouse as people on both side of the debate stand in the background holding signs.
Eric Weddle
Thousands of people came to the Indiana Statehouse on Saturday, June 25, 2022, to advocate for abortion rights. A much smaller number also gathered to support the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to end the constitutional protections for abortion. Two 28-year-olds, Melissa Eleonora Mena-Schneller, right, and Austin, left, debate whether a woman should have the choice to end a pregnancy.

Abortion rights groups plan to hold more rallies and letter-writing campaigns ahead of the legislature’s special session.

One of the leaders of those groups is also realistic about the short-term impact those efforts are likely to have.

Organizations including the ACLU of Indiana and Planned Parenthood held a huge rally in Indianapolis the day after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned abortion rights. More events followed around the state, including hundreds gathered again in the capital city this past weekend.

READ MORE: Judge reinstates state law largely banning second trimester abortion procedure

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Katie Blair, ACLU of Indiana director of advocacy and public policy, said she’s been particularly encouraged by rallies in small communities where such events rarely take place.

“It’s important for lawmakers to see all of the people that are against this very unpopular effort to ban abortion in Indiana,” she said.

Still, Blair knows that lawmakers are likely to ban abortion in just a few weeks, possibly without exception. But she said the fight for reproductive rights is a marathon, not a sprint.

“All of the people that have come to the table to stand up for reproductive rights and abortion access, we have to keep them engaged and in the loop,” Blair said.

Lawmakers plan to begin their special session July 25.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.