Judge blocks Indiana abortion ban week after it took effect

An Indiana judge has granted a temporary injunction preventing the state licensing board and seven county prosecutors from enforcing SB1, which prohibits abortions in most situations. The ruling states SB1 likely violates Article 1 of the Indiana Constitution.

The ruling was issued by a special judge in Monroe County on Thursday.

The judge granted the injunction arguing the plaintiffs, multiple organizations that provide abortion care, were likely to succeed on the merits of the case.

SB1 criminalizes abortions except for rape, incest or serious risk of injury or death of the mother. It also requires abortions be performed at hospitals or ambulatory surgery centers that are majority owned by a hospital.

One of the concerns the judge cited in the ruling is that patients who fall under the narrow exception, which requires an abortion be performed in a hospital or ambulatory surgical center, increases the financial burden of care for victims of sexual violence and critically ill pregnant women, the ruling said.

When arguing the case, the abortion providers said the liberty guarantee of Article 1 of the Indiana constitution provides a privacy right that includes a woman's right to decide whether she will carry to term.

County prosecutors, the defendants, argued there is no right to privacy, but if there was a right to privacy, it doesn't include a right to abortion, court documents said.

The judge stated past rulings have found Article 1 provides a right to bodily autonomy and that it is a basic component of liberty.

The judge also stated the Indiana Constitution is more explicit in affirming individual rights than the US Constitution.

Regardless of how the argument is framed, the judge wrote, family planning decisions, including whether to carry a pregnancy to term, is included in Article 1 protections.

The judge stated the right to liberty is not unqualified, but SB 1 "materially burdens Hoosier women and girls' right to bodily autonomy by making that autonomy largely contingent upon first experiencing extreme sexual violence or significant loss of physical health or death."
It also burdens women by "significantly and arbitrarily limiting their access to care." The requirement that abortions be performed in hospital settings will increase the cost, but is "unlikely to increase the safety of Hoosier women and girls," the judge wrote.

The injunction applies to the defendants: which includes members of the Indiana Medical Licensing Board, and prosecutors in the following counties: Hendricks, Lake, Marion, Monroe, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe and Warrick.

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