Judge blocks Indiana’s nearly total abortion ban


A state judge on Thursday blocked Indiana’s law banning abortion at all stages of pregnancy from enforcement with limited exceptions, a week after it took effect.

Court orders allow abortions up to 20 weeks after fertilization (or 22 weeks after the mother’s last menstrual period) to resume in Indiana.

On September 15th, the abortion ban approved during a special session during the summer, Senate Bill 1, went into effect.

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

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

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

SB 1 prohibits abortion with exceptions to save the woman’s life, to prevent any serious health risk to the woman, and for fatal 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 eliminates abortion clinics as state-licensed facilities and requires all abortions to be performed in a licensed hospital or ambulatory surgery center majority owned by a licensed hospital.

SB 1 was passed by lawmakers in a special session in August, following Roe v. Indiana in June. Becoming the first state to pass a restrictive anti-procedure law since Wade was overturned.

The plaintiffs have argued that the abortion ban violates the Indiana constitution’s right to privacy and equal privilege protections.

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

In his order, Hanlon wrote that there is “a reasonable likelihood that family planning decisions, including whether to carry a pregnancy to term, are included” in constitutional protections. 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 plaintiffs said in a joint statement that they are “grateful that the court has provided patients, customers and providers with the support they need, but this fight is far from over.”

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

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are 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. are abortion providers. which operates a pregnancy resource center that includes an abortion fund.

This story has been updated with additional reactions.