In a pivotal ruling this week, the Indiana Supreme Court approved the state’s near-total abortion ban. As part of this ruling, the court rejected an appeal from abortion industry entities like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, signaling the Hoosier State’s firm stance in defense of the unborn.
In a dominant 4-1 ruling, the state’s top court denied the pro-abortion groups’ request to rehear its previous decision. The groups had approached the court in late July, requesting clarity regarding the ban’s exception for threats to the mother’s life. However, the court’s verdict was clear: the abortion ban would stand and immediately go into effect.
A near-total ban on abortion will take effect in Indiana after the state Supreme Court denied a request from the ACLU and Planned Parenthood to rehear an earlier ruling where it upheld the law and lifted an injunction blocking it.https://t.co/bm2qWvJ5jp
— The Hill (@thehill) August 21, 2023
Interestingly, the Indiana law, which is counted among the most restrictive in the nation, permits limited exceptions. These include severe fetal anomalies, significant health threats to the mother up to 20 weeks gestation, and cases arising from assault or incest in the first ten weeks of pregnancy. But what’s essential to note here is the commitment of the state’s clinics. Even before the court’s decision, they had ceased offering abortion services as of August’s start.
Indiana’s Attorney General, Todd Rokita, was forthright in approving the decision. Taking to the X platform, formerly known as Twitter, Rokita proclaimed, “Great news! The Indiana Supreme Court denied the ACLU’s and Planned Parenthood’s last-second, desperate petition for rehearing to stop Indiana’s pro-life law.” He underscores his office’s dedication to defending this law at every turn, pointing out the broader win this signifies for “Hoosier life and liberty.” Rokita emphatically stated, “We defeated the pro-death advocates who try to interject their views in a state that clearly voted for life.”
On the opposite end, Jane Henegar, the Indiana Executive Director for the ACLU, voiced her disappointment. Lamenting the court’s ruling, she remarked, “Today is a dark day in Indiana’s history, as a near-total abortion ban takes effect.” In her perspective, this legislation, with its narrow exceptions, could put lives at risk.
Beyond Indiana’s borders, this legislation holds national implications. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson decision, Indiana joins nearly a third of U.S. states that have imposed nearly complete abortion bans. In this highly polarized environment, many Democratic-led states are moving in the opposite direction, seeking to secure abortion rights.
However, the debate surrounding Indiana’s abortion ban doesn’t end here. The ACLU intends to challenge the ban again, invoking the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. They argue that the stringent law infringes upon the rights of those not adhering to the traditional Christian belief that life begins at conception.
But as it stands now, Indiana has taken a decisive step. It has firmly echoed the sentiments of many Americans who believe in the sanctity of life. And while there will be continued legal battles and challenges, this ruling from the state’s highest court is a testament to Indiana’s commitment to the pro-life cause.