Indianapolis News and HeadlinesState News


Judge grants injunction preventing enforcement of Indiana's abortion restrictions

Posted at 9:43 AM, Sep 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-23 06:30:10-04

BLOOMINGTON — A special judge has granted a motion for a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit against Indiana's new abortion law, effectively blocking its enforcement as the case proceeds.

Judge Kelsey B. Hanlon granted the motion Thursday, siding with several Planned Parenthood chapters who allege Senate Enrolled Act 1 violates the state constitution. It comes exactly one week after the law went into effect.

Hanlon's findings state, in part, that the law "... materially burdens Hoosier women and girls' right to bodily autonomy by making that autonomy largely contingent upon first experiencing extreme sexual violence of significant loss of physical health or death. S.B. 1 also materially burdens the bodily autonomy of Indiana's women and girls by significantly and arbitrarily limiting their access to care ..."

It continues, "... There is reasonable likelihood that this significant restriction of personal autonomy offends the liberty guarantees of the Indiana Constitution and the Plaintiffs will prevail on the merits as to their claim that S.B. 1 violates Article I & 1 of the Indiana Constitution."

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

Hanlon previously denied a motion for a temporary restraining order filed by the plaintiffs.

Their 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.

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.

Representatives with Planned Parenthood say they will resume abortion care in Indiana immediately. Indianapolis Women's Med will start abortion procedures next week. A spokesperson for Women's Med tells WRTV in the week the ban was in place, 40 or so Indiana patients went to the clinic's Dayton location.

In a separate lawsuit, the ACLU of Indiana claims the abortion law violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The new abortion law went into effect Sept. 15. It 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.

RELATED | Abortion funds and providers feeling impact of Indiana's abortion ban

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.

Many local leaders have provided their thoughts on the decision.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb's press secretary, Erin Murphy, released the following statement:

"Laws, especially ones that carry with them significant change in policy, are frequently challenged in court and SEA 1 is no different. Gov. Holcomb and his team will closely follow this court case as it unfolds."

Attorney General Todd Rokita released the following statement:

"We plan to appeal and continue to make the case for life in Indiana. Our office remains determined to fight for the lives of the unborn, and this law provides a reasonable way to begin doing that."

Indiana Right to Life President and CEO, Mike Fichter sent the following statement in an email to WRTV:

“Today’s blockage of Indiana’s new law means over 161 unborn children will continue to lose their lives to abortion every week this injunction stays in effect. We are encouraged by the judge’s acknowledgement of the state’s legitimate interest in protecting unborn babies and are hopeful the blockage will be brief. “

RELATED | ‘We're prepared': IU Health on implementing new abortion law

Joint statement from leaders from Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai‘i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, ACLU of Indiana, Whole Woman’s Health, All-Options, the Lawyering Project, and Women’s Med: 

“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. There are 1.5 million people of reproductive age in the state of Indiana, and every single one of them deserve the right to make their own decisions about their bodies, families, and futures.”

A spokesperson for the Indiana House Democratic Caucus released the following statement:

“The judge’s motion today temporarily restored dignity to Hoosier women. Indiana Republicans continue to waste Hoosier taxpayer dollars after a costly special session to ban abortion. The GOP’s endless crusade to disenfranchise women and girls of personal choice and autonomy has already cost our state countless dollars, and this lawsuit will surely add to the tab of hard-working folks. House Democrats will monitor the lawsuit as it moves through the judicial process.”