Judge blocks Indiana’s nearly complete abortion ban

Written by

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

The abortion ban, Senate Bill 1, which passed over the summer in 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, trying to block the effect of the law.

The special judge in the case, Judge Kelsey Hanlon, declined on Sept. 15 to issue a temporary restraining order pending a Monday hearing on the plaintiffs’ request 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 health risk to the woman and for fatal fetal anomalies, up to 20 weeks after conception.

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

The law eliminates abortion clinics as state-licensed facilities and requires all abortions to be performed in a licensed hospital or ambulatory surgical center, the majority of which is owned by a licensed hospital.

SB 1 was passed by 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 overturned in June.

Plaintiffs argue that the abortion ban violates the Indiana Constitution’s right to privacy and equal privilege protection.

They argue that the Indiana Constitution provides a privacy right that includes a woman’s right to decide whether to be pregnant, while state attorneys say no legal right to privacy exists, according to the judge’s ruling.

In his order, Hanlon wrote that “there is a reasonable likelihood that family planning decisions — including decisions about whether to terminate a pregnancy — are included” in the Constitution’s protections. However, the judge disagreed with the plaintiffs that the ban violates the Constitution’s protection of equal privilege by discriminating against abortion providers.

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

“We knew this ban would cause irreparable harm to Hoosiers, and in just a single week it has done just that,” they said.

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

This story has been updated with additional reaction.

About the author

Leave a Comment