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Indiana Appeals Court Order Prevents the Enforcement of Abortion Restriction

The state was the first in the nation to pass an abortion restriction law after Roe v. Wade was overturned

Indiana filed an appeal in hopes of overturning a judge’s decision to block a law restricting abortion.

The state’s legislature was the first in the nation to approve a limitation on abortion following the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Owen County Judge Kelsey Hanlon issued a preliminary injunction against the new law on Sept. 22 – one week after the policy went into effect on Sept. 15.

There is reasonable likelihood that this significant restriction of personal autonomy offends the liberty guarantees of the Indiana Constitution,” wrote Hanlon in her opinion, siding with a complaint brought by abortion clinic operators in the state, per NBC News.

We knew this ban would cause irreparable harm to Hoosiers, and in just a single week, it has done just that,” wrote the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the abortion providers, in a joint statement with Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai‘i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, ACLU of Indiana, Whole Woman’s Health, All-Options, the Lawyering Project, and Women’s Med.

“Indiana lawmakers have made it abundantly clear that this harm, this cruelty, is exactly the reality they had in mind when they passed S.B. 1,” continued the statement. “There are 1.5 million people of reproductive age in the state of Indiana, and every single one of them deserve the right to make their own decisions about their bodies, families, and futures.”

Attorney General Todd Rokita said his officer would appeal Hanlon’s decision and “make the case for life in Indiana.”

“Our office remains determined to fight for the lives of the unborn, and this law provides a reasonable way to begin doing that,” said Rokita in a statement after the judge’s ruling was announced.

Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher filed a motion requesting a stay of the preliminary injunction “pending appeal, and at the very least, should issue a temporary stay while this motion is briefed” in a motion filed on Sept. 22.

The state also filed a motion with the Indiana Supreme Court to request an emergency transfer of its appeal.

“Only this Court can provide the final word on this hotly contested, high-profile, pure question of law that is of grave importance to the General Assembly and the citizens of Indiana,” according to the motion.

The state attorney general’s office had asked the court to uphold the state’s ban, saying arguments against it are based on a ‘novel, unwritten, historically unsupported right to abortion’ in the state constitution,” reports AP News

The policy, Senate Bill 1, terminated the licenses of all abortion clinics in the state and prohibited abortion. The law granted exceptions if “necessary to prevent any serious health risk of the pregnant woman or to save the pregnant woman’s life,” if “the fetus is diagnosed with a lethal fetal anomaly,” or if “the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.”

It also granted an exemption to the parental consent requirement for minors seeking abortions if the minor’s pregnancy was a “result of rape or incest by a parent, legal guardian, or custodian of the unemancipated minor.”

The law also “provides a defense for a pregnant mother charged with a criminal offense for terminating or seeking the termination of her pregnancy” and specifies who is exempt from changes of feticide.

The final version of the law also requires doctors who illegally perform an abortion, or who do not file explicitly required reports with the state, to lose their medical license. 

“I am personally most proud of each Hoosier who came forward to courageously share their views in a debate that is unlikely to cease any time soon,” said Governor Eric Holcomb in the statement issued after he signed the bill into law, per CNBC. “For my part as your governor, I will continue to keep an open ear.”

Prior to the law’s passage, state regulations restricted abortions after the 13th week of pregnancy and barred the procedure after the 20th week of pregnancy.

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