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Indiana Supreme Court upholds hold on abortion ban, plans to take jurisdiction

Posted at 3:35 PM, Oct 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-12 18:06:05-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Supreme Court has granted Attorney General Todd Rokita’s request to skip the Court of Appeals and take up immediate jurisdiction in the legal fight over Indiana’s new abortion law.

In the order from the Supreme Court, the court also rejected the request to lift a special judge’s injunction that blocked the enforcement of the restrictions.

As it stands, the abortion restrictions that took effect on Sept. 15 can not be enforced at this time.

The abortion restrictions law was passed in August by a special session of the General Assembly. It bans abortions in the state with exceptions for rape, incest and the life and health of the mother.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the injunction in January.

Owen County Judge Kelsey Hanlon blocked the law from being enforced, writing that “there is reasonable likelihood that this significant restriction of personal autonomy offends the liberty guarantees of the Indiana Constitution” and that the clinics will prevail in the lawsuit.

The ban was approved by the state’s Republican-dominated Legislature on Aug. 5 and signed by GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb. That made Indiana the first state to enact tighter abortion restrictions after the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated federal abortion protections by overturning Roe v. Wade in June.

Indiana Right to Life CEO Mike Fichter released the following statement Wednesday evening:

“We are deeply disappointed the Indiana Supreme Court will allow the injunction against Indiana’s new abortion law to remain in effect pending appeal. We estimate at least three thousand unborn babies, whose lives otherwise might have been saved, will now needlessly die from abortion as the law remains blocked. Thousands more will die as we await a final ruling after the January hearing. Although we are confident the law will be upheld, it will be far too late for those whose lives will be lost as this is argued in the courts.”

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai'i, Alaska, Indiana & Kentucky, ACLU of Indiana, Whole Woman's Health Alliance, All-Options, the Lawyering Project and Women's Med offered the following joint statement:

“It is a tremendous relief to know that abortion will remain accessible and legal in Indiana while we continue to fight this ban in court. Since the reversal of Roe, Indiana has become a critical state for abortion care in the region. We hope that the Indiana Supreme Court agrees with the lower court that the Indiana Constitution ensures that Hoosiers have the right to access abortion. What matters most is that Hoosiers will continue to be able to maintain control over their own bodies, families, and futures without aggressive and dangerous interference from lawmakers.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.