Hamilton: ‘We are fighting for women’s lives and we are fighting for Becky Bell’
INDIANAPOLIS - In response to the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case to overturn Roe v. Wade, State Rep. Carey Hamilton (D-Indianapolis) shares the story of teen Becky Bell, who died from an illegal abortion procedure, and calls for the protection of safe abortion provisions in Indiana:
I want to tell you a story about a classmate of mine named Becky Bell.
I first met Becky in the fifth grade and always knew her to be a gentle and trusting soul. She wrote poetry. She volunteered for the Humane Society. She loved animals. She loved her family, friends and her school. She had so much love to give.
In high school, as so many of us do, she fell for a boy. At 17, she found herself in the same position as 3 in 10 American girls under the age of 20: she was pregnant.
While most 17-year-olds were busy choosing what college they would go to or who they would ask to prom, Becky was alone, ashamed and scared for what would come next. What would her classmates and neighbors say? And most importantly, what would her parents think?
Becky explored her options. She learned Indiana law prevented her, a minor, from getting a safe, legal abortion without first informing her parents and getting their consent.
Bill and Karen Bell were devoted and caring parents, but Becky couldn't stand the thought of disappointing them.
On a Saturday night, Becky left her parents’ house and told them she was going to a party. A few days after she returned, Becky started feeling “sick” but refused to tell her mother and father what happened. Her sickness escalated quickly and her mother and father knew something was seriously wrong. Bill and Karen rushed her to the doctor and soon she was in the hospital.
Becky died a few days later.
Our community was stunned and shattered from this devastating loss. This is when I first came to understand that pro-choice is pro-life.
When Bill and Karen Bell learned that she had died from an illegal abortion, they were consumed with the grief of knowing that Indiana’s abortion restrictions were to blame for Becky’s death.
After their daughter’s passing, Bill and Karen campaigned tirelessly against Indiana’s strict abortion laws in hopes of preventing other young women from dying. Bill and Karen became pro-choice advocates because they were fighting for the lives of young women. For years, Becky’s parents have honored their daughter by urging state lawmakers to undo harmful abortion legislation. I am devastated to know that, because of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn abortion access and the Indiana GOP’s plan to follow suit, Bill and Karen Bell’s fight will be in vain.
Abortion is a personal and difficult decision, and all women, regardless of their age, deserve the right to decide if and when they want to have a child. Becky’s story serves as a reminder that anti-abortion policies do not preserve life; they only harm women and their families.
Ending access to safe and legal abortions won’t end abortions, it will only end safe abortions.
When the Statehouse Republicans call us back to Indianapolis to pass a radical abortion ban, I want them to remember Becky Bell’s story and all that she endured. I want them to consider the young women – the daughters, the nieces, the wives and mothers – in our state that will be forced to suffer in the exact same way.
I will do all I can, alongside my Indiana Democratic colleagues, to protect a woman's right to freedom and choice. We are fighting for women’s lives and we are fighting for Becky Bell.