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Abortion providers file new suit seeking to block state's near-total ban

Planned Parenthood Meridian
Posted at 10:55 PM, Nov 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-09 22:55:55-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Abortion providers on Thursday launched a new legal challenge to the state's restrictive abortion law.

“The fight isn’t over in Indiana," the ACLU of Indiana, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and other plaintiffs said in a joint statement. "We are asking the trial court to protect Hoosiers’ health and limit the scope of the state’s unconstitutional abortion ban."

In August, Indiana lawmakers enacted Senate Bill 1 and became the first state in the nation to restrict abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Indiana allows four abortion exceptions — rape, incest, life and physical health of the mother, and lethal fetal anomalies.

Abortions for rape or incest must be performed within 10 weeks of pregnancy.

The law allows abortions up to 20 weeks into pregnancy in cases where the life of a mother is in danger or where there are anomalies that would prove fatal for the fetus.

Abortions can only be performed in a hospital or hospital-owned outpatient clinic.

The plaintiffs' lawsuit argues that the law's health and life exception is "unconstitutionally narrow" and the hospital requirement is "needlessly restrictive."

"S.B. 1 severely limits access to abortion care, prohibiting nearly all pregnant Hoosiers from accessing care in Indiana," lawyers for the plaintiffs wrote in the 26-page suit filed in Monroe County Circuit Court.

The plaintiffs say the law unconstitutionally limits access and increases the costs of abortions in Indiana.

"The hospital requirement makes abortion even more inaccessible," the plaintiffs said in a news release, "because only a few hospitals, concentrated in the Indianapolis region, provide abortion, and they typically do so at much higher costs than abortion clinics, where nearly all abortions occurred before the ban."

The lawsuit was filed by Planned Parenthood Federation of America; the Lawyering Project; the ACLU of Indiana; Planned Parenthood organizations in the Great Northwest, Hawai‘i, Alaska, and Kentucky; Women’s Med Group Professional Corp.; All-Options, Inc.; and Indianapolis obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Amy Caldwell.

More: Indiana's near-total abortion ban now in effect after Indiana Supreme Court denies rehearing | Where abortion stands in Indiana one year after the overturn of Roe V. Wade | Indiana Supreme Court rules Indiana abortion law is constitutional