The Indiana Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the state’s near-total abortion ban can take effect. The legislation – one of the strictest in the nation – bans abortion except in cases of rape, incest, and to protect the life and physical health of the mother, and will now be put into place as soon as August 1, the ACLU of Indiana said.
In a 66-page opinion, Justice Derek R. Molter, writing on behalf of the court’s majority opinion, said the state has broad authority to protect the public’s health, welfare, and safety, and “extends to protecting prenatal life.”
Plaintiffs, including Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, filed the challenge saying that the abortion legislation criminalizes their work. Stopping the injunction would protect the providers from criminal and other penalties. They also said the law clashes with the state’s constitution.
But the judges argued that the General Assembly is generally permitted to prohibit abortions that are unnecessary to protect a woman’s life or health, within constitutional limits, so the law doesn’t conflict with the constitution. Molter wrote that the state can implement the law within constitutional parameters and the opinion can vacate the preliminary injunction.
In the decision, Molter wrote that while the judges “recognize that many women view the ability to obtain an abortion as an exercise of their bodily autonomy,” he wrote, “it does not follow that it is constitutionally protected in all circumstances.”
In a news statement, the ACLU of Indiana said the ruling “will deprive more than 1.5 million people in Indiana—particularly Black, Latino, and Indigenous people, people with low incomes, and LGBTQ+ people, who already face challenges when seeking medical care—of life-saving, essential care.”
They said that patients will be “forced either to flee the state” to get abortions. Or patients will get abortions “outside of the healthcare system” or remain pregnant “against their will” with potentially serious medical, financial and emotional outcomes.
“This is a serious setback, but the fight isn’t over,” they wrote.
In August 2022, Indiana became the first state to pass new legislation restricting access to abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Legislative exceptions for abortions for rape and incest victims are limited to 10 weeks of fertilization. Abortions are also allowed if a fetus has a lethal anomaly.
Source : CBS News