Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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Judge blocks near-total abortion ban in Indiana


A state judge on Thursday blocked an Indiana law that bans abortion at all stages of pregnancy with limited exceptions, a week after it went into effect.

The court order allows abortions to resume up to 20 weeks after fertilization (or 22 weeks after the mother’s last menstrual period) in Indiana.

The abortion ban, Senate Bill 1, which passed over the summer during a special session, went into effect on September 15.

Indiana abortion providers and a nonprofit organization that operates a pregnancy resource center in the state filed their lawsuit last month, seeking to block the law from taking effect.

The special judge in the case, Judge Kelsey Hanlon, declined Sept. 15 to issue a temporary restraining order pending a hearing Monday on the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction.

On Thursday, Hanlon granted the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction while their lawsuit continues.

SB 1 prohibits abortion with exceptions to save the woman’s life, prevent any serious risk to the woman’s health, and lethal fetal abnormalities, up to 20 weeks after fertilization.

It also allows exceptions for some abortions if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest within the first 10 weeks after fertilization.

The law removes abortion clinics as state-licensed facilities and requires that all abortions be performed in a licensed hospital or outpatient surgical center that is majority-owned by a licensed hospital.

SB 1 passed lawmakers in a special session in August, making Indiana the first state to pass a restrictive law against the procedure since Roe v. Wade was overruled in June.

The plaintiffs argue that the abortion ban violates Indiana’s constitutional right to privacy and equal privilege protections.

They argue that the Indiana constitution provides a right to privacy that includes a woman’s right to determine whether to carry a pregnancy to term, while the state’s attorneys say there is no judicially enforceable right to privacy, according to the order. judge.

In his order, Hanlon wrote that “there is a reasonable likelihood that family planning decisions, including decisions to carry a pregnancy to term, fall within” the protections of the constitution. The judge, however, disagreed with the plaintiffs that the ban violates the constitution’s equal privilege protections by discriminating against abortion providers.

The plaintiffs and litigants said in a joint statement that they are “grateful that the court has granted much-needed relief to patients, clients and providers, but this fight is far from over.”

“We knew this ban would do Hoosiers irreparable harm, and in just one week, it has done exactly that,” they said.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are abortion providers Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, Women’s Med, Indiana obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Amy Caldwell, and the nonprofit organization All-Options, Inc., which operates a pregnancy resource center that includes an abortion fund.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said Thursday that his office plans to appeal.

“Our office remains determined to fight for the lives of the unborn, and this law provides a reasonable way to begin doing so,” he said in a statement. statements.

Indiana Right to Life, which opposes abortion and supports SB 1, argued that “today’s blocking of Indiana’s new law means that more than 161 unborn children will continue to lose their lives to abortion every week that this court order remain in force.”

“We are encouraged by the judge’s recognition of the state’s legitimate interest in protecting unborn babies and hope the lockdown will be short-lived,” the group’s president and CEO, Mike Fichter, said in a statement.

This story has been updated with an additional reaction.


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