Indiana court allows abortions to resume as legal challenge continues
Abortion providers claim the ban violates the Indiana Constitution.
An Indiana court granted abortion providers' request for a preliminary injunction on Indiana's abortion ban, allowing abortions to resume in the state after the ban had gone into effect on Sept. 15.
Plaintiffs asked the court for the temporary stop on the near-total ban until the court issues a final decision in their lawsuit, determining whether it violates the Indiana Constitution.
The ban makes providing an abortion a level 5 felony, only allowing three exceptions for when a woman's life is in danger, the fetus is diagnosed with a fatal anomaly or if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. The near-total ban had replaced a previous 22-week abortion ban.
The ban also eliminates abortion clinics in the state.
Providers who violate the ban will have their license revoked and could face between one to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Indiana was the first state to pass an abortion ban after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, removing federal protections for abortion rights.
The lawsuit alleges the abortion ban violates the state constitution in three ways: infringing on residents' right to privacy, violating Indiana's guarantee of equal privileges and immunities and violating the constitution's due course of law clause because of its unconstitutionally vague language.
The lawsuit was filed Aug. 31 against members of the state's Medical Licensing Board and county prosecutors by Planned Parenthood, the Lawyering Project, the ACLU of Indiana and WilmerHale on behalf of abortion providers including Planned Parenthood, Women's Med Group Professional Corp and All-Options.
"We knew this ban would cause irreparable harm to Hoosiers, and in just a single week, it has done just that. We are grateful that the court granted much needed relief for patients, clients, and providers but this fight is far from over. Indiana lawmakers have made it abundantly clear that this harm, this cruelty, is exactly the reality they had in mind when they passed S.B. 1," the plaintiffs said in a joint statement Thursday.
The lawsuit alleges that the ban will "severely limit access to abortion care, prohibiting nearly all pregnant [residents] from accessing care in Indiana" and forcing "thousands" of residents to travel out of state in order to get abortion care.
It also alleges women will be forced to incur more medical expenses as pregnancies advance, because the cost of an abortion procedure increases as the pregnancy advances.
The lawsuit also warns that patients unable to travel will "resort to self-managing their abortion outside of the medical system" or be forced to continue a pregnancy against their will.
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