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Indiana's Abortion Ban Takes Effect

'There is simply no sound legal basis for an interim injunction,' said Chief Justice Loretta Rush

Indiana will begin enforcing a strict ban on abortions after its Supreme Court denied Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union’s legal effort to block the law.

Abortions will only be permitted in the state under three circumstances. These are limited to up to 10 weeks into pregnancy in cases of rape or incest and up to 20 weeks into pregnancy in cases that involve fatal fetal anomalies, prevent the mother’s death or a serious health complication. Governor Eric Holcomb signed the bill into law in 2022 within an hour after it was passed by the legislature.

The Indiana Supreme Court voted 4-1 on Aug. 21 to affirm its previous decision, reiterating that Planned Parenthood and the ACLU failed to “show a reasonable likelihood of success” in their appeal. 

Chief Justice Loretta Rush, who voted with the majority, wrote

Given that possibility, I am deeply concerned about Senate Bill 1’s impact on Hoosier women’s constitutional right to seek medical care that is necessary to protect their life or to protect them from a serious health risk. And I am likewise concerned about the law’s impact on healthcare providers who must determine whether to provide that care and potentially expose themselves to criminal penalties and professional sanctions. 

Plaintiffs acknowledge our appellate courts have never granted the relief they seek. There is simply no sound legal basis for an interim injunction that is even broader than the relief Plaintiffs intend to pursue in the trial court. And for good reason, our system requires Plaintiffs to first seek their proposed, narrower relief in the trial court, which, unlike our Court, can receive and weigh competing evidence, including expert testimony.

The court previously found on June 30 that the abortion regulation is not in violation of the state’s constitution.

Attorney General Todd Rokita celebrated the court’s ruling, calling the decision “another win for the lives of the unborn.”

“My office promised to defend Indiana’s pro-life law, and we have done that every step of the way,” wrote Rokita on X. “Today, the Indiana Supreme Court certified its opinion rejecting a constitutional challenge to Indiana’s pro-life law, which protects the lives of innocent, unborn babies.”

“This is great news for Hoosier life and liberty,” he continued. “We defeated the pro-death advocates who try to interject their views in a state that clearly voted for life.”

The law, Senate Bill 1, was originally set to take effect on Aug. 1. Accordingly, despite the pending litigation, state healthcare providers have already been observing the law. The regulation will now formally go into effect 30 days after the June 30 ruling is certified, per The Indy Star

Under the new regulation, a woman seeking an abortion must meet with a provider in-person and cannot be sent abortion-inducing medication through a telehealth service.

“We have seen the horrifying impact of bans like this across the country, and the narrow exceptions included in this extreme ban will undoubtedly put Hoosiers’ lives at risk,” said Jane Henegar, the executive director of ACLU of Indiana, per AP News. “Every person should have the fundamental freedom to control their own body and politicians’ personal opinions should play no part in this personal decision.”

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