A deeply divided Indiana House voted Thursday to keep exceptions in cases of rape or incest in a bill that would ban nearly all abortions in the state.
The Republican-dominated House voted 61-39 to defeat an amendment that would have removed those exceptions, with a majority of GOP members wanting their removal.
The House vote displayed a similar division among Republicans to that seen in the state Senate over exceptions for rape and incest, which remained in the bill when an attempt in the Senate last week also failed to strip those exceptions.
Republican Rep. Karen Engleman sponsored the amendment, arguing that even a child conceived in a rape or incest attack deserved a chance at life.
“The intentional ending of human life has no place in medical practice,” Engleman said.
Republican leadership said earlier this week they support exceptions in cases of rape and incest. Republican House Speaker Todd Huston and GOP Rep. Wendy McNamara of Evansville, who is sponsoring the bill in the House, both said Monday that they favored allowing those exceptions.
McNamara said Monday the law needed to be “conscientious of those people who experienced trauma in rape and incest situations.”
The Republican-controlled state Senate narrowly passed the abortion ban Saturday, 26-20, securing the minimum 26 votes needed to send it on to the House.
A House committee on Tuesday approved its version of the Senate-approved bill that includes protections for the physical health and life of the mother, as well as if a fetus is diagnosed with a lethal anomaly. It also adjusted the time frame when abortions would be permitted in cases of rape and incest.
The Indiana House was continuing to debate other proposed amendments Thursday afternoon and could vote Friday on endorsing the full bill.