August 11, 2022

Article at Kokomo Tribune

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Maynard Eaton: IU faculty condemn state lawmakers, AG over abortion ban

Maynard Eaton col sig
Maynard Eaton col sig

“The constituents we represent have demanded that we give public voice to their outrage over Attorney General Todd Rokita’s scurrilous attacks on our colleague, Dr. Caitlin Bernard.”

It was a stinging rebuke of Indiana’s Republican state legislators for their politically provocative passage of a near-total abortion ban. It was authored by the state’s premier collegiate educators, Indiana University’s elected Faculty Council presidents, including IU Kokomo’s Dr. Gin Morgan, assistant professor of psychology.

In their scathing statement, the faculty leaders said, “We believe the health and wellbeing of members of the Indiana University community are threatened by extraordinarily intrusive legislation that would substitute the State of Indiana’s judgement about when, and under what circumstances, Hoosiers should carry pregnancies, whether planned or unplanned, to term for the judgement of individual Hoosiers themselves.”

It amounted to a bold and blistering indictment that continued, “We are especially concerned about the implications this legislation has for our students, many of whom have told us they believe their lives would be altered for the worse were they to be deprived by the State of the opportunity to make thoughtful personal decisions about whether to assume the responsibilities of becoming parents while they are still pursuing their own education.

“Nor are these concerns confined to students,” read the statement. “Indeed, over the past several weeks, we have received a flood of communications from our faculty and staff colleagues as well expressing genuine fear about what the pending legislation will mean for them, their families, and the thousands of highly talented students, faculty, and staff everyone at Indiana University works tirelessly to try to attract to the state each year.”

As a result of this new law known as SB1, Indiana now has the dubious distinction of being the first state in the nation to legalize such a stringent anti-abortion law — unless a women’s life is endangered and in cases of rape or incest — since Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court in June.

Susan Glick, an Indiana State Senator since 2010, voted with the majority. “We just heard from a number of individuals who are saying protect these children, protect life,” she said to ABC News.

“Following the overturning of Roe, I stated clearly that I would be willing to support legislation that made progress in protecting life,” said Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, who signed the SB-1 abortion bill into law Friday.

“This is going to be very, very restrictive and it is going to hurt Hoosier women,” said Dr. Caitlin Bernard, who entered the national debate when she performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled to Indiana after the procedure became illegal in her home state of Ohio.

Dr. Bernard is now being targeted, defamed and investigated by Indiana’s Attorney General, Todd Rokita, much to the displeasure of Co-Chairs Dr. Catherine E. Reck, president, Bloomington Faculty Council, and Philipp Goff president, Indianapolis Faculty Council, among others who helped craft the condemnation.

“We are also appalled by the unprofessional, irresponsible, and quite frankly hysterical ad hominem attacks directed at our colleague, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, by Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, solely for the purpose, it seems to us, of currying favor with those who think it is acceptable for individuals who occupy positions of public trust to use the powers of the offices they hold to threaten and intimidate,” they write. “American society has witnessed similar episodes of nakedly political opportunism before, most notably during the McCarthy era, and they have always come to be viewed in retrospect as being among the darkest and most shameful periods in our national history. We will not make the same mistake — both because the constituents we represent have demanded that we give public voice to their concerns and their outrage over Attorney General Rokita’s scurrilous attacks on our colleague, Dr. Bernard, and because our sense of conscience will not allow it.”

The bitter backlash on Facebook comments also extends to the Indiana University administration. “This is NOT from IU as such,” remarks Lisa Riolo. “This is from our faculty council. I have served on this body. We are tenured professors elected by faculty on our respective campuses. IU administration has been SILENT on this issue. The current president (Pamela Whitten) is an embarrassment to academe. She will support anything that comes from the governor’s office.”

The Maynard Report is written by Maynard Eaton. He is an eight-time Emmy Award-winning journalist now based in Kokomo, and national communications director for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He can be reached at