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Judge Blocks Indiana Abortion Ban One Week After It Took Effect

Abortion Laws
Abortion Laws

An Indiana judge on Thursday blocked the state’s abortion ban from being enforced, putting the new law on hold as abortion clinic operators argue that it violates the state constitution.

Owen County Judge Kelsey Hanlon issued a preliminary injunction against the ban that took effect one week ago. The injunction was sought by abortion clinic operators who argued in a lawsuit that the state constitution protects access to abortion procedures.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, a Republican, said his office plans to appeal the judge's decision 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," Rokita said in a statement.

Hanlon's ruling came after the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood of Indiana, and other clinics that provide abortion brought the suit against the state in the wake of Senate Bill 1, The Indy Star reported. 

As CBN News reported, the ban was approved by the state’s Republican-dominated legislature on Aug. 5 and signed by GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb. That made Indiana the first state to enact tighter abortion restrictions since the U.S. Supreme Court sent the abortion issue back to state legislatures when it overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

The Indiana law prohibits abortions from the time a fertilized egg implants in a uterus.  It includes exceptions when the mother's life is at risk, fatal fetal anomalies, and in cases of rape and incest, however, the victim would have to provide documentation confirming the attack.

When the procedure is approved, it can only be performed in hospitals or outpatient centers owned by hospitals.

Doctors could lose their license if an illegal abortion is performed and the required paperwork hasn't been reported. 

"I am personally most proud of each Hoosier who came forward to courageously share their views in a debate that is unlikely to cease any time soon," Gov. Holcomb said in the statement. "For my part, as your governor, I will continue to keep an open ear."

His approval came after the Senate approved Senate Bill 1 in a 28-19 vote and the House advanced it 62-38.

The law went into effect on Sept. 15. 

In a statement, Lauren Ganapini, executive director for the Indiana Democratic Party, praised the court's decision to block the law. 

"Only a woman and her doctor should make personal health care decisions, not politicians, and it's reassuring to see the decision show Hoosiers that the Indiana Republican Party's effort to ban a legal and safe abortion has crossed the line," she said. 

Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter said he hoped the injunction against the new law will be brief. 

"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," Fichter said in a statement. "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."

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