Indiana pro-life law will take effect as state Supreme Court denies rehearing

Update 8/21/2023: The Indiana Supreme Court voted 4-1 on Monday to deny the ACLU’s request for a rehearing of a case against Indiana’s pro-life law, Senate Bill 1. This means the pro-life law, which protects nearly all preborn babies from abortion will take effect immediately upon the certification of the ruling.

“We are celebrating today,” Voices for Life Executive Director Melanie Lyon said in a press release. “We are celebrating the thousands of children and families who will be spared the violence of abortion because of this legislation. ” 

“We have been preparing for this day for the past year. Our staff and 100+ volunteers are ready to aggressively tackle this next phase of the fight for life in Indiana by continuing to hold abortionists accountable for illegal activity and removing the demand for abortion through our sidewalk advocacy and door to door outreach programs.” 

SB or SEA 1 protects preborn children from abortion with three exceptions: If the baby was conceived in rape or incest, to protect the life or health of the mother (though directly and intentionally killing a preborn child is never medically necessary), or if the preborn child is diagnosed with a condition that doctors label as fatal.

Update 8/2/2023: A pro-life law in Indiana is on hold again following a last-minute filing from the ACLU, but Planned Parenthood has stopped committing abortions in the state. The law was supposed to take effect on Tuesday.

The Indiana Supreme Court ruled on June 30 that the state’s pro-life law does not violate the state’s constitution, but the ACLU of Indiana asked the court to keep the law on hold while it considers challenges to it. It wants the court to rehear its arguments against the law, which protects almost all preborn humans from abortion and would shut down abortion facilities. Only hospitals and surgical centers run by hospitals would be allowed to commit abortions. Until the court responds to that petition — which could take days or weeks — the law will not be allowed to take effect, according to Indiana Public Media. In the meantime, Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky won’t commit abortions until that decision is made.

The 11 Planned Parenthood clinics will reportedly remain open and assist women in accessing other abortion options.

8/1/2023: Earlier this summer, the Indiana Supreme Court removed the injunction against the state’s law protecting virtually all preborn children from abortion, allowing the law to take effect on August 1. That same day, the ACLU — representing Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses — filed a lawsuit to keep the law blocked.

In the petition, the ACLU of Indiana asked the state Supreme Court to rehear the case, which would then keep the law from being able to take effect. Gavin Rose, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Indiana, told the Associated Press they need more time to file a motion seeking “a more limited injunction targeted to the breadth of the serious health risk exemption.”

The ACLU is hoping to have the injunction extended for another 60-90 days. The petition would keep the law from taking effect while the Supreme Court considers it.

“Today is a dark day for millions of Hoosiers and others who rely on Indiana Planned Parenthood for abortion care,” Rebecca Gibron, the chief executive officer for Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, told Fox 59. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker also responded to the new law by promising to make abortion as accessible as possible in his neighboring state, saying, “We’ve made investments to try to prepare for the influx of people coming from out of state and of course our surrounding states are where the majority of those people are coming from.”

Pro-life groups, meanwhile, are celebrating. “It is now midnight and Indiana’s ban on abortion is now in effect!” Pro-Life LGBTQ+ tweeted. “Most preborn children are now protected in the Hoosier state from the moment they are conceived!”

“We are excited to see SB 1 go into effect in Indiana,” Students for Life Action tweeted, adding, “This is a positive step forward but we cannot stop fighting until every Life is legally protected from the violence of abortion.”

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