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Judge blocks Indiana abortion ban

People standing outside the Indiana Statehouse July 25, 2022, holding signs in protest of the abortion bill, or in favor of restrictions.
An Indiana judge has granted a preliminary injunction blocking the state's near-total abortion ban.

An Indiana judge has issued a preliminary injunction blocking the state’s near-total abortion ban, one week after it went into effect.

Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and others challenged the law in August, arguing it violates the state constitution’s right to privacy. 

Owen County Judge Kelsey Hanlon said in her ruling Thursday that plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of the case. 

The Supreme Court ruled in June that the United States Constitution does not guarantee a right to abortion. Hanlon’s ruling stated that Indiana courts are not bound to rule in the same way the Supreme Court did with regard to constitutional issues.

“Several provisions of the Indiana constitution, despite having the same or similar language to an analogous provision of the United States Constitution, have been interpreted to give greater protection to the individual liberties of Hoosiers,” according to the ruling. 

The law makes it a felony to provide abortions in most cases. There are exceptions only to save the life of the pregnant patient, if there are fatal fetal anomalies or in cases of rape of incest, up to 10 weeks. 

It also requires abortions under those exceptions to happen only in hospitals or facilities owned by hospitals – not abortion clinics, where court records show most abortions are provided.

Lawmakers passed it during a special legislative session this summer, making Indiana the first state to pass new abortion legislation after the Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade in June. Prior to the new state law, abortion was allowed up to 22 weeks in Indiana. 

A separate lawsuit challenging the ban is ongoing. Plaintiffs in that case argue the new law violates the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

This story has been updated to reflect the correct county in which Judge Hanlon serves.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.