Indiana anti-abortion law takes effect Thursday, banning most cases with limited exceptions

Abortion laws across country changing after Roe v. Wade overturned

ByVeronica Stracqualursi, CNNWire
Thursday, September 15, 2022
New Indiana abortion law takes effect Thursday amid legal challenges
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Indiana's new near-total ban on abortion law took effect Thursday as reproductive rights groups continue to challenge the bill in state court.

INDIANAPOLIS -- An Indiana law banning abortion at all stages of pregnancy with limited exceptions is now in effect, making Indiana the latest state to enact restrictions on the procedure after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

The law was passed over the summer during a special session, when Indiana became the first state to pass a restrictive abortion law after the court's decision.

The law provides exceptions to save the woman's life, prevent any serious health risk to the woman, and for lethal fetal anomalies, up to 20 weeks post-fertilization. It also allows exceptions for some abortions if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest during the first 10 weeks post-fertilization.

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Under the law, abortion clinics are no longer state-licensed facilities and cannot provide abortions. The law now requires that all abortions be performed in a licensed hospital, or an ambulatory outpatient surgical center majority owned by a licensed hospital.

Abortion providers who violate the law are subject to a criminal penalty of up to six years imprisonment and a fine of $10,000.

Medication abortion is already prohibited in the state after eight weeks of post-fertilization age.

Abortion providers and a nonprofit that operates a pregnancy resource center in the state filed a lawsuit last month, seeking to block the ban from taking effect.

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They argue that the law "will infringe on Hoosiers' right to privacy, violate Indiana's guarantee of equal privileges and immunities, and violate the Constitution's due course of law clause through its unconstitutionally vague language."

"Hoosiers experiencing or at risk of pregnancy complications that may seriously and permanently impair their health-but that do not meet the limited exception for serious health risks set out in S.B. 1-will be forced to remain pregnant and to suffer serious and potentially life-long harms to their health," they said in their complaint filed in Monroe Circuit Court on Aug. 31.

"Even patients whose pregnancies should qualify for S.B. 1's narrow Health or Life Exception may still be unable to obtain an abortion because physicians will credibly fear that they will be prosecuted for the exercise of their professional medical judgment if government officials disagree with their assessment of a patient's condition."

A hearing on the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction is scheduled for Monday. The plaintiffs have also asked the court for a temporary restraining order.

Statement from Ken Falk, legal director at the ACLU of Indiana

"Every day that this ban on abortion is in effect, Hoosiers are unable to access critical health care. This ban immediately impacts the 1.3 million women and people of reproductive age across the state by stripping them of their right to access basic care - forcing Hoosiers to either flee their community to access an abortion, if they have the resources to do so, or to carry a pregnancy against their will and for some Hoosiers, against their religious beliefs.
"With multiple lawsuits pending in Indiana courts, we remain confident that the courts will see this law for what it is, a flagrant attack on the rights of Hoosiers. This fight is far from over. We'll continue doing everything in our power to restore abortion access in Indiana as soon as possible."

Statement from Indiana Right to Life

"Today marks a new opportunity for all of us in Indiana to come together to show true love and compassion for pregnant mothers and their unborn babies. It's taken 50 years, and the loss of over 500,000 lives to abortion in Indiana alone, to finally arrive at this day. This historic moment is not about who wins and who loses, or about mere politics and court battles, but about a fresh new hope that a movement of the heart will unfold in Indiana that sets the pace for protecting life and providing the care and support pregnant mothers deserve."

ABC7 Chicago contributed to this report.

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