JThe Biden administration slammed Indiana’s new abortion ban on Saturday after the state became the first in the United States to approve new abortion restrictions since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in June.
In a statement from the White House, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the Indiana legislature’s decision a “devastating step” and a “radical step by Republican lawmakers to suppress reproductive rights and freedoms.” women and put personal health care decisions in the hands of politicians rather than women and their doctors.
The statement also claims that Biden has pledged to act to protect reproductive rights and accessible care provided by federal law.
The new law, which was passed Friday by the Indiana House and Senate, bans most abortions in the state, but allows exceptions for rape and incest before 10 weeks after fertilization, as well only when a mother’s life is threatened. risk, and in cases of life-threatening fetal abnormalities. It is expected to come into force on September 15. All 11 Democratic senators from Indiana voted against the bill.
Read more: What Abortion Safe States Can Do
Under the new legislation, abortions can only be performed in hospitals or hospital-owned outpatient centers, thus closing all abortion clinics. Under the bill, doctors who perform illegal abortions or fail to complete all required paperwork will lose their medical license.
Current Indiana law allows abortions up to 22 weeks after a woman’s last menstrual period or 20 weeks after fertilization.
Hours after Indiana’s ban was announced, Biden tweeted“This week, I signed an executive order to ensure that health care providers comply with federal law, so that women do not face delays or denials of medically necessary care. builds on the first one that I signed last month and which will also help protect access to health care.
On July 8, Biden signed an executive order to protect access to abortion drugs and emergency contraception. In another executive order signed by Biden on Wednesday, it aimed to make travel for abortion care more accessible, especially for low-income women.
Indiana’s ban comes just weeks after a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio made national headlines for traveling to Indiana for an abortion, due to the law of Ohio on “fetal heartbeat”. Biden also spoke out then about the need to continue to protect access to abortion.
“She was forced to travel out of state to Indiana to seek to terminate her pregnancy and possibly save her life,” Biden said in a speech at the White House. “Ten years – 10 years! – raped, six weeks pregnant, already traumatized, forced to move to another state.
Read more: What the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion means for your state
Just days before Indiana’s ban was decried, voters in Republican-dominated Kansas won a referendum to protect abortion rights in their state. In the future, Kansas should be an accessible destination for abortions from women in neighboring Midwestern states. Indiana will join Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas and Arkansas as another state in the region with highly restrictive abortion access.
The Democratic Party has prioritized abortion as a major issue this year that will likely play into the midterm elections. Abortion ranks near the top of the table of issues of concern to voters. As more states are expected to ban abortion in the weeks and months to come, Biden will continue to be a key figure in the movement to protect abortion rights.
More Must-Have Stories from TIME