After an Indiana judge on Thursday blocked enforcement of the state’s abortion ban, phones began ringing off the hook at Indiana abortion clinics preparing to resume the procedure..
“People are getting the news that abortion is now legal again, and people are ready to get the health care they deserve and want,” Dr. Katie McHugh, an abortion provider at Women’s Health, told The Associated Press. Med in Indianapolis.
Owen County Judge Kelsey Hanlon issued a preliminary injunction against the ban, putting the new law on hold while abortion clinic operators argue in a lawsuit that it violates the state constitution.
Indiana’s seven abortion clinics would lose their state licenses under the ban, which only allows abortions within its narrow exceptions at hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers.
by the Republican-dominated state Legislature on August 5 and signed by Republican Governor Eric Holcomb. That made Indiana the first state to enact stricter abortion restrictions since overturning Roe v. Wade in June.
The judge wrote that “there is a reasonable likelihood that this significant restriction on personal autonomy will offend the liberty guarantees of the Indiana Constitution” and that the clinics will prevail in the lawsuit. The order prevents the state from enforcing the ban pending a trial on the merits of the lawsuit.
The state’s Republican Attorney General, Todd Rokita, said in a statement, “We plan to appeal and continue to defend life in Indiana,” calling the abortion ban law “a reasonable way” to protect the unborn.
Women’s Med expects to see patients again beginning Friday, McHugh said.
“I was really expecting this, but honestly, I really wasn’t expecting it,” he said. “So the fact that this has happened is such a pleasant surprise and validation of what we’ve been saying all this time.”
Whole Woman’s Health, which operates an abortion clinic in South Bend, said its staff members “are making plans to resume abortion care in the near future.”
“Of course, this back-and-forth legal landscape creates disruptions in patient care and uncertainty for our staff,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health.
The Indiana ban followed the political storm overfrom neighboring Ohio to end her pregnancy. The case got a lot of attention when an Indianapolis doctor said the boy had come to Indiana because of Ohio’s “fetal heartbeat” ban.
An Ohio judge temporarily blocked that state law, saying it will allow abortions to continue up to 20 weeks’ gestation until after a court hearing scheduled for Oct. 7.
With Indiana now on hold, bans on abortion at any time during pregnancy are in effect in 12 Republican-led states. In Wisconsin, clinics have stopped performing abortions amid litigation over whether the 1849 ban is in place. Georgia bans abortions once fetal heart activity can be detected, and Florida and Utah have bans that go into effect after 15 and 18 weeks’ gestation, respectively.
Indiana’s ban replaced state laws that generally prohibited abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and strictly restricted them after the 13th week. The ban includes exceptions that allow abortions in cases of rape and incest, before 10 weeks after pregnancy. to fertilization; protect the life and physical health of the mother; and if a fetus is diagnosed with a fatal abnormality.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, which represents abortion clinics, filed the lawsuit Aug. 31, arguing that the ban “would ban the overwhelming majority of abortions in Indiana and, as such, will have a devastating and irreparable impact in the plaintiffs”. and, most importantly, their patients and clients.”
Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana, pointed to the state constitution’s bill of rights that includes “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in arguing before the judge Monday that it included the right to privacy and make decisions about whether to have children.
The state attorney general’s office said the court should uphold the ban and that the arguments against it are based on a “novel, unwritten and historically unsupported abortion right” in the state constitution.
“The constitutional text nowhere mentions abortion, and Indiana has prohibited or heavily regulated abortion by law since 1835, before, during and after the time the Indiana Constitution of 1851 was drafted, debated and ratified,” the statement said. office in a court file. .
The question of whether the Indiana Constitution protects the right to abortion has yet to be decided.
A state appeals court decision in 2004 said privacy was a core value under the state constitution that extended to all residents, including women seeking an abortion. But the Indiana Supreme Court later overturned that ruling without addressing whether the state constitution included such a right.
Hanlon, a Republican who was first elected in 2014 as a judge in the rural southern county of Indiana, wrote that the Indiana constitution “is more explicit in its affirmation of individual rights and its limitation of legislative power to meddle in matters personal” than the U.S. Constitution.
“There is a reasonable probability that family planning decisions, including decisions to carry a pregnancy to term,” are protected by the state constitution, Hanlon wrote.
Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinic operators involved in the lawsuit said in a statement that they were “grateful that the court has granted much-needed relief to patients, clients and providers, but this fight is far from over.”