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Judge denies Planned Parenthood's request to prevent enforcement of Indiana abortion law

Posted at 1:39 PM, Sep 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-22 12:20:08-04

BLOOMINGTON — A judge on Thursday denied a motion for a temporary restraining order that would have prevented Indiana from enforcing new abortion restrictions.

It's the latest development in the case filed by several Planned Parenthood chapters which challenges Senate Enrolled Act 1.

That law, which went into effect Thursday, prevents women from having an abortion except in instances of rape and incest before 10 weeks post-fertilization or in which the mother's life is threatened.

The motion was filed in Monroe Circuit Court in the case filed late last month by various Planned Parenthood chapters, abortion clinics and an obstetrician-gynecologist.

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

Defendants in the case include the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana and prosecutors from across the state, including ones for Marion, Hendricks, Monroe, Lake, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe and Warrick counties.

The lawsuit claims in part that SEA 1 would deprive abortion patients of their constitutional rights and that the limits imposed by the law are "unworkable" because physicians can't determine when in a pregnancy the exception permits abortions.

As part of the lawsuit, Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears has requested to be represented by counsel of his own choice, not the office of Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita.

That comes after the co-defendants filed a motion to strike the appearances of attorneys hired by Mears to represent him.

"... Mears does not want representation from the Office of the Indiana Attorney General because he does not believe the Attorney General will adequately represent the interests of the Marion County Prosecutor," a letter from Mears' office states.

RELATED | Planned Parenthood, more file lawsuit challenging Senate Bill 1

It continues by claiming Attorney General Todd Rokita's office has "demonstrated a history of not representing the interests" of Mears' office and has views on abortion that are "diametrically opposed" to Mears'.

"...Requiring (Mears) to enforce the abortion ban and criminal penalties created by Senate Enrolled Act 1 ... would not be in the best interests of the residents of Marion County and would be an extraordinary misuse of prosecutorial resources and discretion," the letter states.

The next court date scheduled in the case is for a hearing on a motion for a preliminary injunction on Sept. 19. The motion was filed Aug. 31 by the plaintiffs. It seeks to enjoin enforcement of SEA 1 while the litigation is pending.

Senate Bill 1 was signed into law on Aug. 5, making Indiana 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.