On Wednesday, a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit lifted the injunction that was placed on several of Indiana’s abortion laws last month. The ruling means that the state can temporarily continue to enforce five abortion laws that were struck down by a U.S. District Judge while the state appeals the lower court’s ruling.
Thanks to the ruling this week, the state can continue to uphold the following abortion restrictions:
- A requirement that all second-trimester surgical abortions occur in surgical centers or hospitals
- A requirement that women must receive the abortion pill during an in-person visit with a physician
- A requirement that patients must receive in-person counseling prior to an abortion
- A requirement that women receive an in-person physical examination prior to abortion
- A restriction that prevents women from using telemedicine to access the abortion pill
Those abortion laws were most recently struck down in August by Federal Judge Sarah Evans Barker, who found them unconstitutional. Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita appealed that ruling, leading to the decision of the appeals court to lift Barker’s injunction. According to ABC News, Rokita praised the latest ruling. “We would expect our commonsense laws to be upheld as the appeal continues,” he said in a statement. “Protecting the culture of life is the top priority of my office, and we will continue fighting for every life alongside our legislative partners.”
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In its 2-1 ruling, the court found that because the contested provisions had been in force for years, precedent indicates that the state has a good chance of winning its legal battle. “All we hold today is that existing precedents provide strong grounds for concluding that Indiana is likely to prevail on the contested issues,” wrote the judges.
Judge Diane P. Wood dissented from the majority opinion. “The district court’s rulings were grounded in careful and extensive findings of fact, and in my view scrupulously followed the Supreme Court’s guidance in this difficult area,” she wrote, according to Bloomberg Law. “It is a mystery to me why the State is unwilling frankly to say that its laws regulating abortion are designed to discourage that procedure to the maximum extent that is constitutionally permissible.”
Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter cheered the reinstitution of the abortion restrictions. “This is a welcome ruling recognizing that Indiana is on solid legal ground in defending its laws. It is revealing that in every issue at stake, abortion businesses seek to block provisions originally enacted to protect women’s health,” he said.
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