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John Krull commentary: The Supreme Court launched a demolition derby — and in Indiana, it’s only beginning

If the conservative members of the U.S. Supreme Court intended to smash America into fragments by overturning Roe vs. Wade, their plan is working splendidly.

The just-completed demolition derby in the Indiana Senate demonstrates that.

During a special session Hoosier legislators rushed into because, well, they can’t see or think beyond the ends of their eyebrows, our lawmakers debated restrictions on abortion that ranged from mean to savage.

As they did so, protestors hounded them with cacophonous demonstrations of opposition. Doctors and other healthcare professionals told the legislators they were making a big mistake. So did many business and community leaders. Ditto for spokespeople for many non-fundamentalist faith traditions.

In fact, 61 people testified regarding the bill.

All 61 opposed it.

No matter.

The lawmakers had a new toy.

And they were determined to play with it.

The result resembled something like a playdate for toddlers in which all the children were given too much sugar, denied naps and left unsupervised.

In the end, everyone was squabbling and unhappy, even the supposed victors, many of whom said they didn’t even like the bill they voted to move forward. At least one Republican senator—Michael Young of Indianapolis—quit his own caucus in anger at the way the special session had played out.

Young was upset that the bill that emerged from the process wasn’t restrictive enough. That bill allows abortions to occur only in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.

Young argued that there shouldn’t be exceptions for rape and incest because, he contended, “two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Apparently, using the power of the state to force rape and incest survivors to life with the consequences of an evil done them now constitutes a “right.”

At least it does in Sen. Young’s eyes.

The bill that emerged from Indiana’s upper chamber did so by the slimmest of margins with the bare minimum of 26 votes. Several senators who voted in favor of it said they did so only to keep the measure alive so it somehow could be improved.

Those who voted against it did so for reasons as varied as the colors in a big box of crayons.

Some, such as Young, did so because they didn’t think it restricted women’s reproductive choices enough. Others did so because they respect women’s rights and think government should have no role in family planning. Still others voted no because they thought the whole push to ban abortion was too rushed and allowed little to no room for thoughtful deliberation.

So, after a great deal of screaming and shouting, we’re left with a measure no one particularly likes or wants and with everyone mad at everyone else.

Thank you, U.S. Supreme Court.

The worst thing is that this is just the beginning.

The rancor that rolled over the Indiana Senate will flow out over the state and country next. Doctors and healthcare professionals in blue states that are unlikely to restrict abortion tell me they’re already being deluged with requests to set up and provide pipelines for patients who can’t legally get reproductive services in their “red” home states.

Worse, many medical professionals now have begun reconsidering whether they want to work in states where lawmakers have decided they’re better qualified to make healthcare decisions than doctors are.

The same goes for many businesses.

They’re questioning whether telling women that they can’t be trusted to manage their own lives and bodies is a winning strategy for talent recruitment in an age in which a deepening labor shortage will make finding good workers more and more Darwinian.

The quarrels that split the Indiana Senate soon will begin sundering communities and workplaces all across the state.

Indiana won’t be alone in this, of course.

Many other states now are hurrying to impose harsh restrictions on abortion. They, too, will find that doing so is like to trying to repair delicate crystal with a sledgehammer.

All that will be left will be pieces scattered everywhere, many of them sharp and capable of inflicting great damage.

None of this would have been possible without the work of the conservative members of the U.S. Supreme Court.

If their plan was to take a wrecking ball to the fragile foundation holding this great but tormented nation together, well, they succeeded.

Well done, gang.

Well done, indeed.

John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students. The opinions expressed by the author do not represent the views of Franklin College.