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Democratic leaders, candidates speak against abortion ban, hope to motivate voters for fall election

By Violet Comber-Wilen, IPB News | Published on in Government, Health, Politics
Democratic candidates and leaders pose in the Statehouse for a photo. Left to right: Myla Eldridge, vice chair of Indiana Democratic Party; Victoria Garcia Wilburn, House District 32 candidate; Destiny Wells, secretary of state candidate; Jessica McClellan, state treasurer candidate; ZeNai Brooks, state auditor candidate; and Jocelyn Vare, Senate District 31 candidate. (Violet Comber-Wilen/IPB News)

Democratic candidates for statewide offices on Tuesday warned about possible financial and health dangers from the state’s recent abortion ban. Party leadership hopes to motivate voters in opposition to the ban.

Indiana Democratic Party Chair Mike Schmuhl said voters have the power to inspire change if they are dissatisfied.

“Hoosier voters: if you are angry about ban, vote Democratic; if you are frustrated about the supermajority and what they’ve done, vote Democratic; if you are embarrassed every time these legislators meet, vote Democratic,” he said.

Myla Eldridge is vice chair of the Indiana Democratic Party. She said a GOP poll prior to the ban suggests that most Hoosiers don’t agree with the ban.

“About 63 percent of Hoosiers told the Republicans that they are pro-choice and wanted to keep Indiana’s abortion law as is,” Eldridge said. “And only 20 percent of Hoosiers said they wanted the state to pass a total abortion ban.”

The candidates for state auditor, treasurer and secretary of state said they feel Republicans are not listening to their constituents enough.

Secretary of State candidate Destiny Wells said if elected, she would encourage a pro-democracy society with more engaged voters.

“Indiana is a purple state with a voter turnout problem,” she said. “We are 46th in nation in voter turnout.”

Major themes heard during the news conference included the financial burden an unwanted pregnancy may pose for pregnant people and the state itself.

READ MORE: Why weren’t abortion restrictions decided by a ballot question in Indiana?

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State treasurer candidate Jessica McClellan said this decision will affect the state’s other institutions tremendously.

“Senate Bill 1 is fiscally irresponsible. It will make Indiana’s D-rated workforce and F-rated quality of life ratings even worse. And it will further plummet the state’s C-rated education systems,” McClellan said.

Indiana Democratic Party Chair Mike Schmuhl echoed those concerns and said these ratings are “unacceptable.”

“We did get first in something – and I think it is an embarrassing distinction. We were the first state, post Roe, post Dobbs, to pass an abortion ban,” he said.

Auditor candidate ZeNai Brooks is also the First Lady of New Liberty Missionary Baptist Church in Indianapolis and describes herself as a woman of faith. She said abortion arguments should not be tied to religion.

One party – and specifically the Republican party – does not have a monopoly on what it means to be a person of faith. This party cannot continue to weaponize the Bible whenever it suits them best,” she said.

Brooks said she questioned the state’s financial decision with this ban, and feels that as an auditor, money should be reinvested in communities for other resources, such as food and clean water.

Indiana’s general election is Nov. 8. The deadline for voter registration is Oct. 11.