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Wednesday vigil for pro-abortion rights: "We won't go back"

Bente Bouthier

To mark the last night before a near-total abortion ban went into effect in Indiana, a group of activists and service providers organized a vigil at the Monroe County courthouse.

Organizers told attendees that Wednesday night’s event was meant to mark a shift in efforts.

Jessica Marchbank with All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center was one of ten speakers at the vigil. She said more than 1,300 people called the Hoosier Abortion Fund since April seeking access to resources, and that won't stop because of the ban.

The Hoosier Abortion Fund, run by All–Options, is meant to help people in Indiana pay for expenses related to getting an abortion.

“Hundreds of Hoosiers every single month, they contact us because they need an abortion and they’re having trouble accessing it,” Marchbank said.

She told attendees her organization still provides resources to help people get abortions, and is deepening ties with out-of-state groups like the Chicago Abortion Fund for transportation and hotels.

Co-chair of Hoosier Jews For Choice, Elly Cohen helped organize the event. She said Senate Bill 1 operates on narrowly interpreted Christian ideaology. Her organization and five Hoosier women have filed a lawsuit challenging the ban, claiming it violates the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Moving forward, her group is focusing on voter registration. She said the vigil was meant to be an opportunity for people to grieve, but also come together for political empowerment. Before and after the vigil, tables for voter registration were open.

“We want to not just be in despair, but to empower people and to empower ourselves to continue the fight that we have all been involved in and need to move forward in,” she said.