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Indiana’s Abortion Ban Takes Effect as Supreme Court Denies Rehearing Request

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Indiana's Abortion Ban Takes Effect as Supreme Court Denies Rehearing Request

(CTN News) – Indiana’s near-total abortion ban has come into effect following the Indiana Supreme Court’s rejection of a rehearing request from the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.

This development comes more than a year after Governor Eric Holcomb signed the law in 2022. The controversial law, which limits abortions with only a few exceptions, has raised concerns about reproductive rights, healthcare access, and individual freedoms.

Legal Battle and Denial of Rehearing Request

Although the legal proceedings continued, healthcare providers had effectively enforced the ban since August 1. The ACLU and Planned Parenthood sought a rehearing to clarify exemptions in the law, particularly regarding the mother’s life.

However, Chief Justice Loretta Rush stated that the concerns raised by the parties requesting a rehearing were not adequately addressed about the impact on women seeking medical care for serious health conditions or on healthcare providers.

Justice Christopher Goff was the sole dissenter on the state’s Supreme Court, disagreeing with the denial of the rehearing request. This decision leaves the law in place and in effect.

Reaction from Stakeholders

Attorney General Todd Rokita praised the court’s decision, expressing his office’s commitment to defending the law. On the other hand, ACLU of Indiana executive director Jane Henegar called it a “dark day” in the state’s history and expressed concerns about the potential risks to Hoosiers’ lives due to the narrow exceptions included in the law. Henegar stated that the ACLU would continue to fight in court to expand upon and clarify the current exceptions.

Political and Public Responses

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, a Democrat seeking reelection, criticized the ruling, considering it a setback for the safety of residents. Hogsett emphasized the importance of reproductive rights and healthcare services, pledging to advocate for individuals’ rights to make their healthcare decisions.

Republican candidate for Indianapolis mayor, Jefferson Shreve, refrained from commenting on the Supreme Court’s decision but previously highlighted his focus on other mayoral responsibilities. He emphasized his intention not to allocate city resources to abortion policy matters.

Background and Abortion Restrictions

Indiana became the first state to enact new abortion restrictions following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, which returned abortion regulation authority to the states after ending Roe v. Wade.

The law permits abortions under specific circumstances, such as fatal fetal anomalies, threats to the mother’s life or health, and cases of rape or incest within specific timeframes.

Pregnant individuals are protected from prosecution for having an illegal abortion, but healthcare providers performing such procedures risk losing their licenses. The law also confines abortion procedures to hospitals, contrasting with most abortions performed in outpatient clinics.

Ongoing Legal Battle

The ACLU of Indiana also represents a group of plaintiffs who claim that the law infringes on their religious freedom by preventing them from accessing abortion care. The case is set to be heard by the state Supreme Court in December.

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