Editor’s note: The following is a statement by President Anne Houtman on the passing of Indiana Senate Bill 1.
I am writing to provide an update on the passage of Indiana Senate Bill 1 (SB-1), which has made international headlines for its sweeping restrictions on the reproductive rights of women and others capable of becoming pregnant. On Friday, August 5, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law a bill that bans abortions in Indiana at any gestational term with the following exceptions:
• Lethal fetal abnormalities
• Cases in which the health of the pregnant woman/person is at serious risk
• Cases involving victims of rape or incest within a specified time frame
Physicians found to have violated the ban could be charged with a felony and have their medical license revoked.
When faced with similarly polarizing issues, the Earlham community has historically turned to Quaker principles and practices to guide us in our discernment. It is worth noting that Quakers are not in consensus about abortion, and there is a diversity of perspectives on this matter within the Earlham community. Additionally, as a nonprofit entity with deep roots in Indiana, we are bound by the laws of our state.
However, we remain committed first and foremost to the health and wellness of our students — and employees — as we have been since our founding in 1847. We have amplified our already robust pregnancy prevention and sexual health education programming for students. We will spend the coming weeks determining the ways in which we can directly and indirectly support our community in this challenging time.
I recognize that abortion rights is a deeply emotional issue for many in our community — myself included — and my leadership team is working through the myriad moral and legal imperatives surrounding this law. I have already received messages from alumni and other concerned members of our community asking how they can help students and employees access services not available in Indiana, and I appreciate the care that you have shown.
I am making it a priority for Earlham to develop a measured, comprehensive approach before the law takes effect on September 15. I recognize that this response will fall short for some, but the complexities of a post-Roe world require deep discernment and thoughtful consideration.
Holding us all in the Light,