Third District Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Banks wants stronger anti-abortion laws, but says he doesn’t believe measures banning travel from Indiana to abortion-access states like Illinois are the answer.
“Neither (conservative WOWO host) Pat Miller and I were talking about travel bans,” Banks said Wednesday in an interview with the Capital Chronicle. “I never heard of a travel ban until (I accused) of this.”
During a Fort Wayne radio interview last week Praising the March for Life anti-abortion rally in Washington, D.C., Miller told Banks that the pro-life movement still had work to do because Hoosiers could still access the procedure by driving to Michigan or Illinois.
“The fight is far from over,” Miller said.
“That’s exactly right,” Banks replied. “I’m for federal legislation, I’m for stronger laws at the state level — whatever we can do to save lives, to protect babies. That’s what this fight is about.”
This interaction, posted by Heartland Signal, caused a bit of an uproar on the app, claiming that Banks supported a travel ban between Indiana and Illinois for those seeking reproductive health care. Heartland, part of Chicago’s “progressive” station WCPT, called Banks an extremist in another tweet.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, a Democrat, added his opinion to the noise, saying on Twitter, “The GOP’s plan to criminalize the most basic decisions a woman can make doesn’t stop with overturning Roe. The fight is far from over and Illinois is ready to protect all women.”
The story continues after the tweet.
The GOP’s plan to criminalize the most basic decisions a woman can make doesn’t stop with overturning Roe.
The fight is far from over and Illinois is ready to protect all women. https://t.co/R7DUuKLY8C
— JB Pritzker (@JBPritzker) January 23, 2023
The Times of Northwest Indiana, based in Munster, wrote its own story describing the conversation, including Heartland’s tweet, with the initial headline “Republican US Senate candidate supports abortion travel ban for Hoosier women.” An updated headline for this story reads “Hoosier candidate for US Senate supports reducing abortion options in other states.”
Banks said on Wednesday that he would support a nationwide bill banning abortion after cardiac activity is detected in a fetus, but called the “outrageous allegation” of travel bans “ridiculous.”
“My quote couldn’t be clearer: I am unapologetically pro-life and support laws that protect babies. I support a federal ban and I support the law passed by Indiana,” Banks said. “There are arguments that Congress should not pass pro-life bills, but I support them because of states like Illinois that do not have pro-life protections for babies or women.”
Banks announced his candidacy for the US Senate earlier this month, emphasizing his conservative values and commitment to anti-abortion legislation.
Indiana’s nearly total abortion ban is on hold as the Indiana Supreme Court weighs the constitutionality of the ban — the court heard arguments last week and said it would issue an opinion “at the right time.”
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