Letter: Lawmakers’ vote goes against women’s rights

From: Rhonda Fischer


There were several disturbing quotes from state Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus, in The Republic’s Feb. 18 article titled “Smith blocks vote, draws ire.” It was the last reported quote from Smith prompting this letter. “But there are 6.5 million people in Indiana and all of them weren’t here today, and we need to listen to them, too,” Smith said.

If he spoke the truth on wanting to listen before voting, then why didn’t Smith listen to his constituency before quickly voting “yes” to House Enrolled Act 1337, making Indiana the most hostile state for women’s rights in the nation.

From state Rep. Sean Eberhart, R-Shelbyville, who voted on the bill: “Today is a perfect example of a bunch of middle-aged guys sitting in this room making decisions for what we think is best for women. We just need to quit pretending that we know what’s best for women and their health care needs.”

From state Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville: “We as Republicans always talk about ‘less regulation, less regulation, less regulation.’ Except when it deals with the most personal decisions of somebody’s life. We ought to stay out of it. This bill doesn’t value life, as the authors make you to believe.”

Former Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill, and local representatives voted “yes” to HEA 1337 in a rushed vote through the Indiana Statehouse. Local Indiana representatives who voted “yes” to HEA 1337 taking away women’s rights:

  • Smith.
  • Then-Rep. Eric Koch, R-Bedford.
  • State Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour.
  • State Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus.

Given a U.S. District Court judge issued a preliminary injunction due to it being unconstitutional, it’s clear this bill was not properly vetted.

Why does Smith have more concern on putting an independent redistricting committee up for a vote than he does on taking away women’s rights? As a poster from the recent Women’s March on Washington stated, “If you don’t trust me to make a decision, why do you trust me to raise a child?”