Indiana Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Ban Challenged By ACLU

In a resounding victory for the protection of life and the preservation of constitutional values on Monday, the Indiana Supreme Court upheld the state’s abortion ban, paving the way for its immediate enforcement. The decision comes after a 4-1 ruling in June that the law, which strictly restricts abortion with limited exceptions, aligns with the Indiana constitution. 

Today’s ruling follows a request for a rehearing by the American Civil Liberties Union chapter in the state and Planned Parenthood, which was denied by a clear majority of the justices.

Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush, while concurring with her fellow justices on procedural matters, expressed her profound concerns about the law’s impact on women’s reproductive choices. In a nuanced opinion, she expressed her “deep concern” for a woman’s right to choose, while emphasizing that Senate Bill 1’s restrictions are well within the Constitution’s bounds.

Under this law dubbed Senate Bill 1, abortion remains accessible in limited circumstances where a mother’s life or health is seriously endangered, or in cases of lethal fetal anomalies. These critical decisions must be conducted within a hospital setting before the 20-week gestation mark. 

Additionally, exceptions are provided for cases of rape or incest up to 10 weeks post-fertilization. This measured approach ensures a balance between the sanctity of life and the unique circumstances that may arise.

Justice Christopher M. Goff, the sole dissenter, argued for a temporary injunction to allow for further consideration and discussions within the trial court system. While his perspective emphasized preserving a stable legal environment, the majority of the justices underscored that the law was meticulously crafted to value life while recognizing the complexities of medical decisions. 

The legislation prohibits abortions unless the life of the pregnant woman is at grave risk or if there is a diagnosis of a “lethal fetal anomaly.” Furthermore, it takes into account the heart-wrenching circumstances of rape and incest while upholding the Constitution’s respect for life.

State Attorney General Todd Rokita celebrated the Court’s decision, commending the persistence of his office in defending the law. “This is great news for Hoosier life and liberty. We defeated the pro-death advocates who try to interject their views in a state that clearly voted for life,” he stated. 

In contrast, the ACLU of Indiana expressed strong opposition to the ruling. “Today is a dark day in Indiana’s history, as a near-total abortion ban takes effect. We have seen the horrifying impact of bans like this across the country, and the narrow exceptions included in this extreme ban will undoubtedly put Hoosiers’ lives at risk,” executive director Jane Henegar said in a statement.