Seven abortion clinics in Indiana would have lost their state licenses under the ban — which only allows abortions within its narrow exceptions to be performed in hospitals or outpatient surgery centers.
The ban was approved by the Republican-dominated state legislature on August 5 and signed into law by Republican Governor Eric Holcomb. This made Indiana the first state to enact stricter abortion restrictions since the US Supreme Court struck down federal abortion protections by overturning Roe v. Wade in June.
The judge wrote “there is a reasonable possibility that this significant limitation of personal autonomy would prejudice the guarantees of liberty set forth in the Indiana Constitution” and that the clinics would prevail in the lawsuit. The order prevents the state from imposing the ban pending trial on the basis of the case.
“We plan to appeal and continue to defend the case for life in Indiana,” state Republican Attorney General Todd Rocketta said in a statement, calling the abortion ban a “reasonable way” to protect the fetus.
McHugh said WomenMed expects to visit patients again starting Friday.
“I really wished it, but honestly, I didn’t really expect it,” she said. “So the fact that this is what happened is a pleasant surprise and confirmation of what we have been saying all along.”
Whole Women’s Health, which operates an abortion clinic in South Bend, said its staff “plan to resume abortion care in the near future.”
“Of course, this landscape of legal weighting is leading to disruption in patient care and uncertainty for our employees,” said Amy Hagstrom-Miller, President and CEO of Whole Womens Health.
The Indiana ban came in the wake of the political storm over a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled to the state from neighboring Ohio to terminate her pregnancy. The case received widespread attention when an Indianapolis doctor said the baby came to Indiana due to Ohio’s “fetal heartbeat” ban.
An Ohio judge has temporarily blocked this state law, stating that it will allow abortions to continue up to 20 weeks into a pregnancy beyond a court hearing scheduled for October 7.
With Indiana now suspended, a ban on abortion at any time during pregnancy has been enforced in 12 Republican-led states. In Wisconsin, clinics have stopped offering abortions amid litigation over whether the 1849 ban was in effect. Georgia bans abortions once fetal cardiac activity is detected, and Florida and Utah ban it after 15 and 18 weeks of pregnancy, respectively.
The Indiana ban replaced state laws that generally prohibited abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and placed strict restrictions on them after the 13th week. The ban includes exceptions that allow abortion in cases of rape and incest before 10 weeks after conception. to protect the life and physical health of the mother; And if the fetus was diagnosed with a fatal malformation.
The American Civil Liberties Union in Indiana, which represents abortion clinics, filed the suit on August 31, arguing that the ban would “prevent the vast majority of abortions in Indiana, and therefore have a devastating and irreparable effect on plaintiffs. Most importantly, their patients and their clients.”
Ken Falk, the legal director of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, noted the state constitution’s declaration of rights including “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” in the argument before the judge on Monday that it includes the right to privacy and decisions about whether to have children.
The state attorney general’s office said the court should uphold the ban, saying the arguments against it were based on a “new, unwritten and historically unsupported right to abortion” in the state constitution.
“The constitutional provision does not mention abortion anywhere, and the state of Indiana has prohibited or severely regulated abortion by law since 1835—before, during, and after the time when the Indiana Constitution of 1851 was drafted, debated, and ratified,” the office said in a lawsuit. .
The question of whether the Indiana constitution protects abortion rights has not been resolved.
A state Court of Appeals decision in 2004 said privacy is a core value under the state constitution that extends to all residents, including women seeking abortions. 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 rural southern Indiana, wrote that the Indiana constitution is “more explicit in its emphasis on individual rights and its limitation of the legislative power to interfere in personal affairs” than the United States Constitution.
“There is a reasonable possibility that decisions regarding family planning, including decisions regarding pregnancy to term,” Hanlon wrote, are protected by the state constitution.
Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinic operators involved in the lawsuit said in a statement that they are “grateful that the court has granted so much relief to patients, clients and providers, but this battle is far from over.”