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Indiana's near-total abortion ban is in effect. Here's what you need to know.

Abortion Two Clinics
Posted at 7:10 AM, Sep 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-15 07:10:02-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's near-total abortion ban is now in effect after the Indiana General Assembly passed the legislation during a special session over the summer and Gov. Eric Holcomb signed it into law.

Indiana was the first state in the nation to pass new legislation restricting abortion access since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision.

The Senate passed the bill with a 28-19 vote and the House passed the bill with a 62- 38 vote.

Because the law is now in effect, abortions can only be performed in hospitals or outpatient centers owned by hospitals.

Abortions are only permitted in cases of rape and incest before 10 weeks post-fertilization and to protect the mother's life and physical health. It also allows them if the fetus is diagnosed with a lethal anomaly. The ban will replace state laws that generally prohibited abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and tightly restricted it after the 13th week.

A doctor could lose their medical license if they perform an illegal abortion or failed to file required reports.

Several organizations and abortion clinic operators filed a lawsuit last month seeking to block the law from taking effect. It won't be heard by a judge until next week

PREVIOUS | Indiana court hearing set after abortion ban takes effect

Another lawsuit was filed in September by the American Civil Liberties Union claiming the law violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Indiana abortion clinic operators have told The Associated Press that they'll stop offering abortions when the ban takes effect but continue to support patients with information about out-of-state clinics. Planned Parenthood plans to keep its four Indiana clinics that offer abortions open and provide sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, and contraception and cancer screenings, which it says comprise the bulk of its services.

Indiana University Health, the state’s largest hospital system, has set up advisory teams that include a lawyer for consultations on whether patients meet the legal requirements for abortions. Indiana hospitals performed 133 of the 8,414 abortions reported to the state Department of Health in 2021, with the remaining 98% taking place at clinics.

When the law starts being enforced on Thursday, Indiana will join more than a dozen states with abortion bans, though most were approved before that Supreme Court ruling and took effect once the court threw out the constitutional right to end a pregnancy.

West Virginia legislators approved an abortion ban on Tuesday and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina introduced a bill that would ban abortion nationwide after the 15th week of pregnancy, with rare exceptions, intensifying the ongoing debate inside and outside of the GOP though the proposal has almost no chance of becoming law in the Democratic-held Congress.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.